By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Max Verstappen insists that his opening lap collision in the Singapore Grand Prix that resulted in the retirements of he, and the Ferrari duo of polesitter Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, was something not of his own making.
The 19-year-old Dutchman started second on a slippery grid and at lights out was put in a precarious position as Raikkonen, who started from third, got a great launch and put wheels alongside entering Turn 1. At that moment, Vettel was setting up for his entry into the opening corner, which appeared to pinch Verstappen into Vettel’s teammate as the three made heavy contact.
Both Verstappen and Raikkonen walked back to pit lane, with Vettel retiring moments later on Lap 1 due to the contact.
Fernando Alonso was also a victim in the mess, having gotten a great start up from eighth to pull up to fourth, but was hit in the left side from the incident and even got slightly airborne. He attempted to battle through, but the damage was too severe and the Spaniard would retire on Lap 8.
For his part, Verstappen, who suffered his seventh retirement in 14 races and sits sixth in the championship with 68 points (96 behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo in fourth), wasn’t ready to take sole blame for the crash.
“My start was a little bit better than Seb and I think he saw that so he tried to move to the left to squeeze me out of the line a bit but he did not know Kimi was on my other side,” said Verstappen, driver of the No. 33 for Red Bull Racing.
“I think it wasn’t the smartest move and you can’t make excuses for it when you are fighting for a world championship. Kimi had a great start and was alongside me very quickly, I didn’t try and defend that as I knew it would be a long race, he then started to squeeze me also, at which point there wasn’t a lot I could do. The rear wheels are wider than the front so I was locked in the sandwich with no way out, even when I braked. If I made a mistake myself I would be upset or angry but there was nothing I could do today.
“We all lost out in the end so we all experienced some pain rather than someone making a mistake and then being able to carry on.
“We have to take the positives from the weekend, we were quick in qualifying and the practice sessions with good potential going into the race, we can hold onto this and move on to the next race.”