Sebastian Vettel has received a three-place grid penalty for the Japanese GP after the FIA stewards deemed him responsible for the first corner collision that saw the Ferrari driver retire and Nico Rosberg spin to the back of the field.
Vettel has also received two penalty points on his superlicence. The FIA said: “Having thoroughly reviewed the video and having spoken to the driver concerned, the Stewards determined that although the cars involved in the incident were all moving at relatively similar speeds, the driver of Car 5 made a small error entering to the inside of Turn 1 that led to the contact with Car 6. As a consequence, Car 6 was caused to spin from second place and loose multiple positions, which the Stewards determined was predominantly the fault of the driver of Car 5 and therefore ordered the penalty above for causing a collision.”
Vettel meanwhile said he couldn’t avoid the impact after he found himself squeezed by Max Verstappen.
“We had a good start, then I was going side by side with Max,” he explained. “We were both battling for position into turn one. Nico in the front was turning in and he obviously decided to pick his line, which is absolutely fair and in his right. At that point with the speed I had I couldn’t slow down any more and I was also pushed by Max to the right.
“I did my best under braking but I couldn’t avoid the impact. It was an unfortunate chain reaction which ruined my race and Nico’s one. I can’t do more than apologize to Nico, because the accident had nothing to do with him being in front. I think it was different to the case in Spa with Max and Kimi, as Max and I were trying to fight for turn 1, and Nico was trying to do a different thing ahead.”