McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has laid the blame for the crash that put Jenson Button out of the race squarely at the feet of Sebastian Vettel, and suggested that this type of driving fell short of Formula 1 standards.
After pitting for a new front wing, Vettel was issued with a drive-through penalty for causing the collision, effectively putting paid to his hopes of salvaging a points’ finish.
But with the outcome also putting a hefty dent in Button’s championship defence, Whitmarsh was still steaming after the race had ended.
Describing Vettel’s driving as “more reminiscent of junior formulae”, Whitmarsh added: “A drive-through seemed a pretty light punishment to me.”
While clarifying that the incident was obviously unintended by Vettel, Whitmarsh also said: “If he was going for the inside he had three inches to sneak down there, so God knows what he thought he was doing. That was frustrating. But that is motor racing; we’ve got to move on now.”
Whitmarsh went on to raise a quite valid perception that Vettel’s overtaking skills are certainly wanting, with the young German having been involved in a few collisions over his F1 career trying to overtake a rival car – the Turkish Grand Prix collision with his team-mate Mark Webber being the most recent example.
“When you keep doing these things you have to reflect on what is on your mind on this occasion. It looked like he was trying to go for an inside gap where, as I said, there were a few inches. What he thought he was doing there, I don’t know. And he lost it. I would rather he did it with his team-mates rather than do it with us!”
Vettel had already apologised for the accident, blaming the damp track conditions that caused Button to brake earlier than expected.