Villeneuve: Vettel and Leclerc are both to blame

Both Ferrari drivers are to blame for their Interlagos crash according to outspoken 1997 Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve who claims the pair were trying to out-do one another during a thrilling race in Sao Paulo.

It was a defining moment in the civil war between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc when they collided on lap 66 while running fourth and fifth respectively, the pair reacting in anger in the aftermath of the inevitable.

The well-reported coming together ended with both Ferraris parked at the side of the Interlagos track, their drivers rendered spectators. Another embarrassing capitulation by the mighty Maranello outfit on an afternoon when at least a podium or two beckoned.

Who was to blame?

A question that has launched a million debates as the civil war between Vettel and Leclerc is fodder for the off-season as it is clear the pair are a liability to the team which now appears to have the firepower to mount a serious title campaign, their drivers are their biggest problem.

After analysing the incident, Villeneuve told Sky Italia: “Vettel and Leclerc are allowed to fight among themselves, but they should not abuse this freedom.

“In my opinion, they are both to blame. Leclerc was too aggressive, and Vettel should not have immediately slammed the door when overtaking his teammate. They both made a mistake.

“It was unnecessary, as they were fighting for third place at most. I think they just wanted to show everyone that they are the better one,” insisted Villeneuve.

In the wake of the incident, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said of his drivers, “It’s not for me to blame them. I feel, sorry for the team. I think the drivers need to feel sorry for the team because, in the end, they were free to fight.”

“At the end, both of them have got at least a small or small percentage of responsibility,” added Bonotto, inadvertently, echoing Villeneuve’s sentiments.

Meanwhile, Corriere della Sera reports that Binotto met with Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri at Maranello on Tuesday where they discussed potential penalties for repeat incidents, including driver fines and other “disciplinary measures.”

Former Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello, who was at Interlagos last Sunday, told Bild newspaper: “It was a misunderstanding between the two drivers and a sad day for Ferrari.”

As for 2020, both Vettel and Leclerc are staying put, but Sky Deutschland commentator Sascha Roos thinks differently, “Ferrari would be well advised to set a deadline. For example, after the first four races of the season, the decision on a number one driver should be made.”

Big Question: Who was to blame?


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Barrichello: Verstappen is very popular in Brazil

Red Bull ace Max Verstappen has become very popular among Brazilian motorsport fans according to former Formula 1 driver and local hero Rubens Barrichello.

Once strongly represented in the top flight, featuring F1 legends like Ayrton Senna, Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet as well as multiple race winners including Felipe Massa and Barrichello himself, there is no longer a single Brazilian driver on the grid for their passionate fans to cheer for.

But Barrichello says told De Telegraaf Brazilian people are now turning their attention to Dutchman Verstappen, “Max is an aggressive driver. People think he’s crazy. He is also very outspoken. He says what he thinks. His weekend at Interlagos was ten out of ten. It all makes him a very popular driver in Brazil.”

The 22-year-old has a soft spot for Interlagos, last year he nearly won the race but was punted out of the lead by Esteban Ocon but he recovered to finish second. In 2016, Verstappen impressed on his way to third place in damp conditions in which he shone.

With a very similar view about Verstappen is 1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, “In my opinion, he is ready to become world champion. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to be careful with what he says.”

However, speaking on Sky Italia Villeneuve admitted he was not impressed with Verstappen for recently accusing Ferrari of “cheating” with its engine.

“In that case, he was talking about something he cannot know about. That is the whole problem with that statement,” ventured Villeneuve.


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Vettel: I was going straight

Despite television images clearly showing Sebastian Vettel drifting from the right side of the track to the middle in front of Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc, seconds before they crashed out of the Brazilian Grand Prix, the German was adamant he was going straight.

Asked about the block in his post-race interview with Sky F1, Vettel replied, “I was going straight.”

And added, “The summary of the day is that we did not finish a race in which we could have got a good result. It’s a shame about the collision between us, especially for the team as a whole, given that both cars were in the points and considering how much work everyone puts in, both at the track and back in Maranello.

“I think it’s a pity for the team, I think we could have achieved a better result and deserved it. Obviously we were fighting among ourselves at the chicane and it was an aggressive fight.

“I had more battery than him, between curves two and three I thought I was already ahead, I don’t know why we touched each other, and this concluded the race of both,” added the four-time F1 World Champion.

Vettel has a history of crashing with teammates. Doing so during his time at Red Bull with Mark Webber when battling for the lead of the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix.

A couple of years ago he was involved in a three-way crash with Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen at the start of the Singapore Grand Prix.


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Red Mist: An Italian Thinking Out Loud

Sunday’s Ferrari casino may well be a defining moment. For two race cars to take each other out is a no-no, but for teammates to do that is shamefully unacceptable, for Ferrari teammates to do that is, well… let’s just leave that one there.

Two Ferraris have often crashed together in Formula 1, but that has invariably been the result of a separate issue — like Lauda and Regazzoni taken out by a Brambilla-Andretti clash, or Kimi and Vettel rendered hors d’combat after Seb’s tangle with Max. I don’t ever recall two Ferrari drivers taking each other out though?

Teammates have never been immune from clashing — McLaren’s Prost vs. Senna most famously in Japan ’89, Hakkinen and Coulthard again for McLaren in Austria ten years later, Jordan’s Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher in Argentina ’97; Montoya and repeat offender Ralf in the US in ’02 and more recently, Mercedes’ Rosberg and Hamilton, properly the second time around in Spain 2016. Don’t forget Webber and our latest repeat offender, Vettel in Turkey 2010.

Feuding teammates are noting new either — and boy, has Ferrari had its fair share — Prost vs. Mansell and Villeneuve and Pironi’s tragic spat, to name but two. Sadly, these things always end up in tears.

Now add to our little pot of collusion, a few more factors; like Italy and its press fed up with Ferrari, its drivers and management. Finger-pointing is at its best at times like this, no?

And then there is all the other stuff allegedly going down in that paddock and beyond. This Penske-Mercedes malarkey for instance. If that is real, significant winds will blow change through that silver cloud and with a soon out of contract Lewis — and even Toto appearing a bit bored with all this winning they’ve been doing lately, would both not want a real new challenge?

What about that eternal Ferrari critic Flav and his chosen Spanish son — has he not just now suggested a return to the Scuderia as one of Fernando’s few F1 options? So, what are the chances of Hamilton and Woolf descending on Maranello — or even more bizarrely, Alonso and Briatore? And all of them? I’m nuts you say?

Well, stranger things have happened in F1 and remember two things here — one, Briatore was the architect of the Schumacher era Ferrari Superteam back at Benetton and it was he who beat Maranello at the end of it — with Alonso, of course. And then those silver guys… well they just won five world titles together, so why not opt for a fresh conquest to actually break all those records dressed in red…?

Somehow, I cannot see today’s line-up strapping into those radical new Ferraris in 2021 — possibly one, definitely not both drivers. And you can probably factor in (another) fundamental change in management at Maranello. Nor can I see too may other proper options beyond the bickering duo who are there now, Hamilton and Alonso. Or perhaps Ricciardo.

If change must happen, it should be radical — just like it was when Briatore’s Benetton Superteam upped camp and headed to Ferrari to commence the previous golden era…

One thing is for sure though, judging by the several case studies we have based on similar F1 team acrimony over the seasons, the wedge dividing Ferrari is right now is likely to soon cut through it — these things always end in tears for one driver or the other, if not both. Especially down Maranello way…

So being, a mellowed Hamilton and his new friend Alonso in a new Ferrari ’21 Superteam may not seem so daft after all…


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There is ‘psychological warfare’ at Ferrari

Former driver turned pundit, Jolyon Palmer, feels there is “psychological warfare” at Ferrari, saying the “needly” driver rivalry needs to stop.

Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc created the latest chapter in their ongoing rivalry at the Scuderia when a collision between the pair in Brazil ended with both drivers out of the race and zero points for Ferrari.

The dynamic between the duo is under the microscope once again following the latest incident, with Palmer going as far as saying it is now “warfare” with Vettel and Leclerc continuing to go up against each other.

“It’s psychological warfare at Ferrari,” Palmer said in BBC Sport’s Chequered Flag podcast.

“Leclerc’s move on Vettel into Turn 1 was really, really good. It was a fantastic move. Bit of a lunge, late, decisive, clean, up the inside, brilliant stuff.

“He then actually did give Vettel enough space. At first it looked tight but he did give him enough space and Vettel just continues to move over towards the middle of the road where Leclerc still is and hit him in a straight line.

“It’s baffling…when your team-mates you really don’t need to be doing this.

“It is about the first time they have really raced together on track with no team orders this year. It’s unacceptable.

“I’m not going to criticise [Mattia] Binotto for letting them race. It’s up to drivers to not run into each other when you are team-mates.

“It’s unacceptable to clash with your team-mate on a straight. There is no way you can blame Binotto for this incident between two world-class drivers.

“It’s up to them and it’s really poor.”

Asked if he felt whether the red mist descended over Vettel in the incident, Palmer said: “I think that’s exactly what it is and this is where the psychology comes in.

“The rivalry is so intense and we have seen it in many, many races this year. There is huge needle between the two.

“I’m sure after Vettel got done at Turn 1 he thought ‘oh no you don’t, I’ll put some manners on you’ and cocked it up.

“I’m fairly sure Vettel will know he has done something wrong…but they need to stop this needly rivalry between them.”

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Pit Chat: Erm…happy 100th race, Sebastian

It was, unfortunately, rather fitting that Sebastian Vettel’s 100th race with Ferrari ended in disaster just as things were looking promising for the Scuderia…

Time to take a look back over the good, the bad and the ugly from a Brazilian Grand Prix that went from quiet to batsh*t crazy in the blink of an eye.

Thank you Valtteri Bottas for your sacrifice.

But first…

A whiff of nostalgia

We, and no doubt you, are an absolute sucker for seeing some iconic cars back on track, even if the livery isn’t 100 per cent accurate.

In the build-up to race weekend we were treated to Mick Schumacher driving his father’s almighty Ferrari F2002.

And back at Interlagos, we all saw this little beauty. Martin Brundle is one lucky man. Not jealous at all.

While that was undoubtedly Martin Brundle’s number one highlight of the weekend, a close second must have been the honour of being completely ignored by Kimi Raikkonen on his grid walk.

Don’t worry, Martin, he isn’t just singling you out.

Just as we’re on the subject of Kimi, we wholeheartedly endorse this message.

Just a quiet weekend…

Now onto Kimi’s former team-mate at Ferrari…one Sebastian Vettel. We got pretty much every version of Seb this weekend.

The one that teases other drivers…

The one that has the dad jokes locked and loaded…

Very excitable Sebastian made an appearance with a superb British accent out of nowhere…

And topped off, of course, by very angry Sebastian on team radio. It’s got to be bad if he is ranting in his native tongue.

If you’re wondering what he said…”My god, is that really necessary?! What a load of bullsh*t!”

Never a quiet day at Ferrari…

Any other business

It’s also never quiet when Daniel Ricciardo is around. He has the perfect plan for Valtteri Bottas to beat Lewis Hamilton next season.

We also enjoyed Valtteri with the most Finnish reaction ever after watching Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel collide with each other.

Meanwhile, the unfortunate Alex Albon added his own little spin to the ‘Shut up Geoff’ option that all F1 gamers are very much aware of.

Ever so slightly more wholesome was seeing Pierre Gasly and, eventually, Carlos Sainz on the podium. Try looking at these images and not get a little misty-eyed with a wee tear of joy.

Last word

Over to you, Ted Kravitz, for the most risqué joke of the weekend coming not even 24 hours on from that interview with Prince Andrew.

Stalling for time on his always excellent Notebook whilst waiting to see if Carlos Sainz was going to keep hold of his podium spot, he suggested McLaren may celebrate by going for a pizza in Woking.

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Brazilian Grand Prix driver ratings

It’s raining tens after a brilliant Brazilian Grand Prix but don’t let the very different-looking podium detract away from some other stellar driver performances.

Late Braking run the rule over all 20 drivers at Interlagos…

Max Verstappen – As carnage ensued around him, Verstappen kept his head above water and made no errors as he secured the Brazilian Grand Prix. In something of a redemption story, Verstappen saw off the continued threat of Lewis Hamilton, combining a wonderful drive with clever strategy and lightning pit stops.

The later laps might have been chaotic but that shouldn’t take away from the epic duel he had with Hamilton. We can only hope that are many more chapters to come in the rivalry and that a championship can be what the fight is over. 10

Pierre Gasly – Gasly achieving a podium in 2019 might not have been a surprising bet at the beginning of the season. Obtaining that podium at Toro Rosso after being dumped by the senior team? I doubt many would have predicted that.

After some impressive performances post-demotion, Gasly delivered an impeccable performance and took advantage of incidents ahead of him to achieve Toro Rosso’s best finish since 2008.

Even without good fortune resulting in the podium, Gasly would have finished best of the rest and held that position for the majority of the race. 10

Carlos Sainz – From the disappointment of qualifying to a maiden podium on Sunday. Last place to podium is unsurprisingly a rarity in F1, even rarer for a midfield car and it puts the cherry on top of a breakout season for Sainz.

The only car to complete a one-stop race, Sainz opted for track position over fresh tyres and he displayed excellent defensive qualities to see off the Alfas behind. 10

Kimi Raikkonen – After a long time out of the points, Raikkonen returned to form in Brazil and combined with Giovinazzi to take home 22 points for the team, the second-most on the day.

Raikkonen remained a constant in the race as drama unfolded around him as he worked his way up from the lower end of the points to P4 following the penalty to Hamilton. 8

Antonio Giovinazzi – On any other day, Giovinazzi achieving his best finish in F1 with P5 might have been one of the biggest talking points coming out of the grand prix, as it happens the great performance has gone under the radar.

Retaining his seat for 2020, his progress throughout the year has been encouraging to witness and he’ll be hoping that progress continues into the beginning of next season. 8

Daniel Ricciardo – Perhaps the most eventful race of Ricciardo’s season. Contact with Magnussen and the ensuing penalty forced Ricciardo to the back of the field, prompting a strong drive back through the pack.

Noticeably, Ricciardo’s two stints on the soft tyres were the two longest of the race and his impressive tyre management worked him back into the points. 8

Lewis Hamilton – Pushing Verstappen all the way, Hamilton applied plenty of pressure on Verstappen and it seemed as if Hamilton had 2nd place all but locked up before his teammate forced a safety car.

Their decision to keep Hamilton out after the first safety car put his P2 under jeopardy before an ambitious dive on Albon gave him a penalty which dropped him down the grid. 8

Lando Norris – If there’s one thing that became evident around Interlagos, it’s that the hard tyre was not a good compound to be on as it hampered the races of anyone who crossed eyes with it.

Norris was one of those unfortunate drivers who up until that point delivered a solid race, to make matters worse he then had to witness his team-mate finish in the top three. With Norris’ talent there’s every chance he will get a future opportunity but this must have hurt nonetheless. 7

Sergio Perez – After some encouraging races for the Pink Panthers, the Interlagos circuit really didn’t seem to suit the Racing Point guys and despite the slightly strange results, Perez might actually be content with P9 here.

One of the earliest to pit, Perez’s strategy might well have been more effective without the safety car as he was in the points for much of the race even before cars started dropping out. 7

Daniil Kvyat – Who would have thought that Kvyat’s result in Germany would end up being Toro Rosso’s second best result of the year? Kvyat was essentially forced to sit this one out as his team-mate took the plaudits.

Kvyat might be slightly concerned with the regularity that his team-mate is now beating him and he’ll hope this is just a late season slump. 6

Kevin Magnussen – Even before the contact with Ricciardo, Magnussen was dropping like a stone as cars queued up to pass the Haas driver. This isn’t necessarily abnormal for Haas to do better on a Saturday than a Sunday but Magnussen was less effective at stopping the bleeding when compared to his teammate. 6

George Russell – Just as Kubica picked up a point thanks to dramatic scenes at Hockenheim, Russell must have been hoping the same thing would happen at Interlagos. Whilst he got close, it was only P12 for Russell but it was a strong showing regardless. 7

Romain Grosjean – Quite a few drivers must have bemoaned the emergence of the safety car but perhaps none more so than Grosjean. Well up in the points during the race, he was a sitting duck towards the end of the race as drivers with fresher tyres passed him. A cruel end to a great drive. 8

Alex Albon – Albon was mere laps away from his maiden podium in F1, only to be denied when Hamilton ambitiously went for an overtake.

Up until this point he had driven a solid race and held his own in wheel to wheel combat although the safety car appearing played a large role in that happening to begin with. 7

Nico Hulkenberg – At the site of his one and only pole position, Hulkenberg could not recapture the magic at Interlagos as he never really threatened the points places. A difficult stint on the hard tyre left him well behind and a five second time penalty at the end of the race only served to heap the misery on further. 5

Robert Kubica – Four stops, a near-collision in the pits with Verstappen (an incident which saw him get a penalty rather than a team fine that has been implemented before) and a lap down on every other car. Last on circuit for Kubica in another tough outing. 5

Did not finish

Sebastian Vettel – After a disappointing first stint, Vettel seemed to pick up the pace in his second stint and was briefly lapping quicker than the two cars ahead. A strong finish fell away from him though as he moved across Leclerc, with a puncture as his punishment. 6

Charles Leclerc – Using his faster car to good effect, Leclerc had no difficulty working his way through the field in the early goings and was brought back into contention with the safety car period. All of that work was undone though as contact with Vettel forced him into retirement. 7

Lance Stroll – A slightly anonymous race for Stroll who didn’t feature much until we saw him cascade into retirement with a broken suspension. Usually it’s this sort of race that Stroll does well from but there were no points to be had this time around. 5

Valtteri Bottas – Another who suffered on the hard tyres, so much so that he abandoned them after just 15 laps, Bottas seemed to struggle for pace throughout the afternoon.

When his lonely afternoon finally delivered some action, he was unable to get the decisive pass on Leclerc which might well have contributed to the issue that saw him retire. 6

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Brawn Report: Interlagos podium was youngest ever

Formula 1’s MD of motorsport, Ross Brawn provides his post-mortem of  “an intense, unpredictable and utterly compelling Brazilian Grand Prix”  hailing F1’s podium debutantes – Pierre Gasly and Carles Sain.

He also pointed out that with Max Verstappen on the top step it also happens to be youngest average age for a trio on a Grand Prix podium.

The former team chief now turned rule-maker also tucked into the Ferrari drivers’ civil war saga and other bits and pieces from a thrilling race, viewed from the lofty heights of F1’s head of motorsport.

“The Brazilian Grand Prix was an incredibly exciting and dramatic race, packed with incidents and accidents, but while there was a huge amount going on behind him, for Max Verstappen his eighth career win was actually more straightforward than it looked on the results sheet.

“Certainly, there were moments of concern for the Dutchman – the pit lane incident involving Robert Kubica and the need to pass Lewis Hamilton on track twice, which is no mean feat – but after making a good start from pole, the Red Bull star always had victory in his grasp.

“His Red Bull was definitely the best package on the day but Max, too, was in superb form. He didn’t waver, he trusted the judgement of his engineers and strategists, and he delivered a winning drive of pace, power and precision.

“He was particularly strong at the second re-start, when he slowed the field right down with the aim of ensuring no one would be able to slipstream past him and snatch victory. It was an exciting and fascinating re-start which will be analysed very carefully, as the closeness of the pack in the seconds leading up the green flags resulted in a thrilling spectacle as drivers jockeyed for position and where the slightest advantage proved decisive.

“Examining the possibility of procedurally recreating those conditions in future is an interesting concept and one that will undoubtedly be explored in the coming period.

“Of Max’s three wins this year, this was the one where the Red Bull-Honda package was at its best, as it seems to have closed on if not actually matched the level of its rivals. There’s only one race to go, but the Milton Keynes team and the Japanese manufacturer have laid down a strong marker for 2020.

“The Interlagos podium set a Formula 1 record for having the youngest ever average age, at 23 years, 8 months and 13 days, beating the previous record from the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. Of course we are used to seeing Verstappen, the youngest of the three, on the podium, but I’m sure that no one would have bet on Pierre Gasly or Carlos Sainz scoring a maiden podium finish.

“Gasly made the most of the fact that most the top three teams’ drivers were out of the running, but in the race and indeed in qualifying, he has always been in the right place at the right time.

“It’s a great shot in the arm for Pierre, at the end of what’s been a rollercoaster year. His return to Toro Rosso was viewed as a step backwards for the 2016 GP2 champion, but he wasn’t fazed by the switch, and since his return to the Faenza squad he has put in some impressive performances to pick up enough points to possibly take sixth place in the Drivers’ championship. Sunday’s result was a rewarding vindication of his resilience and talent.

“Toro Rosso also now have a chance of doing something special and finishing fifth in the Constructors’ as they are now just eight points behind Renault. The team has already scored more points than in any other year and to improve on its sixth-place from 2008 would be a great send-off for the Toro Rosso name, as it morphs into Alpha Tauri next year.

“Carlos Sainz missed out on his first champagne moment in F1, but later on he and the entire McLaren team stood on the podium to celebrate his third place in style. It was a hugely impressive race from Carlos and the fact that he had some help from safety cars, retirements and accidents, can take nothing away from what was a bravura performance.

“He started from last on the grid and then went on to be the only driver to go the distance making just one pit stop, and without resorting to the hardest Pirelli compound. He attacked in the early stages and then defended to the last and delivered a faultless performance from start to finish.

“He had a particularly exciting tussle with Kimi Räikkönen over the last few laps, with the Finn on quicker tyres that were also 20-laps newer than the Spaniard’s.

“Third place is a deserved reward for the driver and team that has been best of the rest all year. In fact, the 19 points it picked up on Sunday assures it of fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, the target McLaren set itself at the start of the season. Yes, there’s a big gap to third place and there’s still plenty of work to do, but it’s a real morale booster to take into the winter.

“They’ll be buoyed by the knowledge that they can count on a couple of young and very talented drivers, as Lando Norris also drove a strong race yesterday, and the rookie is still on course to finish in the top 10 in the championship.

“The saddest man in the post-race interviews was undoubtedly Alex Albon, who must have thought his first podium finish was within his grasp until there were just 10 kilometres to go to the chequered flag.

“After switching places with Pierre Gasly in the summer break Alex was last week confirmed for a full season at Red Bull for 2020 and claiming a first F1 podium would have been a great way to celebrate that news and to cap what has been a remarkable turnaround for a driver whose F1 dream looked all but over last winter.

“A top-three finish looked on the cards after a great race in which he overtook Vettel with an impressive move before grittily fending off the Ferrari man’s attempts to reclaim the position. But his hopes of trophy were shattered as a result of the coming together with Hamilton.

“I can understand his disappointment but he shouldn’t dwell on it because he’s had a really good year. He was definitely the least fancied rookie this season, but he has secured his place in the sun and deserves to stay with Red Bull, having performed very consistently, even outscoring his team-mate up to this weekend. He missed out on the podium here, but given Red Bull’s current form, the opportunity might present itself again in Abu Dhabi.

“If Albon was the epitome of disappointment, the two Ferrari drivers were just plain angry. It’s never nice when teammates knock one another out of a race, even more so when it’s not even a particularly important result that goes begging, as in this case, third place in Brazil was the most they could aspire to.

“After tensions flared in the races following the summer break, everything seemed to have calmed down in the Ferrari dressing room. But now, Mattia Binotto faces the tough task of getting things back on track and indeed he said just that in his interviews after the race.

“He had to get stuck in and tell the drivers to face up to their responsibilities, which in Maranello always means putting the interests of the team ahead of those of the individual, which was not the case in yesterday’s race.

“I wouldn’t want to venture an opinion on who was most at fault for the collision, but in the cold light of day, maybe it would be good if one of them will follow Hamilton’s example and immediately admit culpability, as the champion did regarding his clash with Albon.

“If Ferrari really wants to put an end to Mercedes’ dominance, not only does it need to provide its drivers with a more competitive car next year, it must also ensure that incidents like this one are not repeated. Formula 1 is a team sport, especially so in Maranello.”


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Rosberg questions Hamilton’s five-second penalty

Nico Rosberg has questioned the decision to give Lewis Hamilton a five-second penalty when Alex Albon “left the door open” for him in Brazil.

The stewards stripped away Hamilton’s podium finish at Interlagos after his late tangle with Albon, who saw his first podium chance slip through his fingers, while Hamilton dropped to P7 as a result.

Hamilton “massively apologised” to Albon after the race, but his former team-mate reckons that a penalty was perhaps a bit too harsh given the fact that the Red Bull pretty much gave Hamilton an open invitation to pass.

“Of course, Lewis was more at fault,” Rosberg said via his YouTube channel.

“Albon was less at fault, but he left the door open completely for Lewis to dive in.

“Lewis did get quite far in there, but I don’t know if it was worth a five-second penalty. With the way things have been going this year, maybe I would have preferred no penalty because Albon has some fault as well. It is not 1oo per cent Lewis.

“Albon left the door open and he should have left a bit of space. There is no reason why you can’t leave a little space.

“Albon said he wasn’t expecting Lewis to dive down there and wasn’t looking, but that’s not a valid excuse.

“It would have been nice, maybe, not to have a penalty there to really free up the racing and let the drivers sort these things out themselves.”

Rosberg has also had his say on the latest Ferrari clash between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, where he feels Vettel was more at fault for the incident than his team-mate.

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FIA explain six-lap Safety Car for Bottas DNF

FIA race director Michael Masi has been busy explaining why the SC was needed for six laps to cover Valtteri Bottas’ stricken Mercedes in Brazil.

The Finn had been in pursuit of Charles Leclerc when smoke began escaping from his engine, and a few laps later he was forced to pull over, picking a spot off the track with consultation from his race engineer that should have allowed his W10 to be quickly removed from the circuit.

However, Bottas was unable to re-fit the steering wheel before exiting the scene – two marshals were able to put it back on but couldn’t get the car over a “bump”, meaning the crane was needed to remove it.

This therefore meant that the Virtual Safety Car was not suitable, since Jules Bianchi suffered catastrophic head injuries at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix when colliding with a recovery crane, race control have been obliged to use a full SC when one is on track to slow the drivers down sufficiently.

“Valtteri did a fantastic job where he stopped,” Masi is quoted by Autosport. “They were trying to push the car back into the gap, which is why we went double yellow, as we had the marshals there.

“It was off track, they were trying to push the car, but the car got stuck on the bump.

“So we actually had to deploy the crane to move it out. For me as soon as a crane is deployed, that’s it, straight Safety Car.”

Bottas’ Mercedes was removed very quickly, but Masi says the SC stayed out for six laps because everyone outside the top five needed to unlap themselves as per the regulations.

“Basically the top five cars were the only unlapped cars,” he confirmed.

“Probably the first part of it was actually getting the leader behind the safety car, which took a little bit longer purely because of car positioning, and then getting the list from timing of all the cars.

“So the first focus is obviously to clear the incident. And then the unlapping of cars is a secondary scenario.”

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