Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

No hard feelings over first corner clash

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen have both shrugged off the collision between themselves and Valtteri Bottas at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix as a racing incident.

The trio attempted to navigate the right handed first turn three abreast with Bottas’s Mercedes to the inside and Verstappen around the outside, but contact between Bottas and Raikkonen sent the Ferrari into the Red Bull, breaking both their suspensions and virtually ending the pair’s races on the spot.

“It’s just unfortunate,” says Verstappen. “I tried around the outside and I think as long as Valtteri doesn’t touch Kimi, everything is fine.

“We could’ve given each other space but unfortunately Valtteri touched Kimi and of course then Kimi couldn’t control the car and he just slammed into me.”

Raikkonen’s account of the incident also reflected those of the Red Bull driver.

“Obviously it all started when I got hit on the right-rear corner, my car jumped a little bit and obviously you can’t control a lot after that,” says Raikkonen. “Then we came together with Max (Verstappen) but it all started from the first touch. What can you do?”

Bottas’s Mercedes emerged unscathed from the collision, but he too would fail to finish the race following a power unit failure mid-way through the grand prix.

“I was on the inside for Turn One, Kimi came from the outside and tried to overtake me from there,” Bottas says of the collision.

“I tried to carry speed. For sure, we didn’t collide on purpose. It’s a shame that we collided and I think the race ended up there. So I think that was very, very unlucky for those guys with just a small touch, really.”

The clash was investigated by the stewards, who ultimately decided that no action was necessary.

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 34 comments on “No hard feelings over first corner clash”

    1. Was Bottas investigated or was it just Raikonnen and Verstappen? The blame certainly lies will Val as he had the best view of the three, still these things happen

      1. No way.
        Have a look at that video when braking zone starts, Bottas is ahead of Kimi and Max.
        Yes they both gained on him but he had already committed to the corner and can’t do much there. Kimi had the outside of the corner so he could do something about it. Max though is complete inexcusable. Even if Kimi and Bottas didn’t touch, what did he think he could do? 3 cars can’t go in the first turn. He was always going to run out of road.

        1. ILoveconspiracytheoriesinracing
          14th May 2017, 18:52

          When your name is made as a F1 driver I will consider your comment. For now it is complete BS.

        2. Kimi’s fault! Max left plenty of room.

          1. I agree. I thought Bottas, but Kimi went for the apex and he should have known Valtteri had no time to pull out.
            Looks like Max was managing the gap with Kimi leaving half a meter in between. Nothing wrong there.

    2. GtisBetter (@)
      14th May 2017, 17:10

      They were all three investigated.

    3. None was at fault. Vatteri and Kimi would’ve left there unscratched even after banging wheels had Max not been there at the same time. It was just an unfortunate incident which also compromised Felipe and Alonso’s races

      1. ehm…. same could be said when Bottas or Raikkonen wouldn’t have been there.

        Fact is, the corner is wide enough for three cars if every driver keeps his cool, Bottas admitted he was understeering which obviously triggered the incident.

    4. No lads, I’ve read on here that it’s definitely Verstappen’s fault, even though he was on the outside and the last to be tagged, so you guys have it wrong, the commenters on here know better.

      1. @hahostolze, last year that we had exactly the same incident on another track, VER was on the inside and VET on the outside. The same commenters once again blamed VER. Prejudice at its best. Just ignore them and don’t ever bother replying.

        1. @sakis Assume you’re talking about Spa where VER came from behind and stuck his nose in on the inside where it couldn’t fit. Here VER came from behind and turned in on RAI who then had to turn in on BOT in the hope that he’d disappeared for some reason.
          VER is a very good driver, but he is involved in a lot of first corner incidents. This is just another example of where discretion would have been the better part.

          1. VER came from behind and turned in on RAI who then had to turn in on BOT

            I really loved your “discretion” there. Not biased at all. Did RAI personally told you all of this or you just assume? Because assumption is a different thing than fact.

          2. Check the video analysis above. It was Kimi’s fault!

            1. The video has since been blocked by F1 management, but in essence it showed this:
              – Ahead of the firs corner, Valtteri was looking left and right for a way past Lewis, but could find none and had to break early for the corner.
              – Kimi was looking for a way past Valtteri, but had to switch left when Valtteri went to the right. Kimi too had to break early for the corner, but later than Valtteri.
              – Max saw Valtteri and Kimi move to the inside and went for the middle left, veering away from Kimi when Kimi went back to the middle. Max had no car straight ahead and could brake at the right point for the corner, which put him aside of Kimi.
              – In the turnin point all three were more or less side by side, half a meter apart.
              – Valtteri was slowest of the 3 and slid back on the approach to the corner.
              —–> Kimi closed the corner aiming for the apex !!!!!
              – Valtteri tried to draw out of it, went full over the kerb but could not prevent touching Kimi’s rear with his left front.

              Taking it all in, it does not look like Max was squeezing Kimi. Max was just keeping the gap at half a meter. As Kimi turned in Max went with him, maintaining the gap. Had Valtteri drawn back faster all would have been well.
              But Valtteri had all the right to be there. After all, he was first in the corner. Kimi should have left hin a cars width of the track.

              Being on the outside in turn 1 is an advantageous position, as the next corner turns the other way and is very close by. After the apex of turn 1 the cars have to line up for corner 2 and won’t move to the left side on the exit of the first corner, as that would compromise the next one.
              Yet going into corner 2 side by side the leftmost car has the advantage. Max would have passed both Kimi and Valtteri if the accident had not happened.

    5. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      14th May 2017, 17:30

      I certainly am pleased that no further action was taken. I’ve seen so many people with different views who have blamed all of them. Well, It certainly wasn’t Bottas’s fault. If people say he caused it by doing what he did, then think back to Bahrain 2016. Maybe he hesitated as he didn’t want to carry too much speed on the inside. He then was left no space by Raikonnen, who couldn’t have done anything because Verstappen was alongside him. If anything, Verstappen had plenty of room along to his left so if he’d moved to the left more, then Raikonnen could have given Bottas space and it wouldn’t have happened. But understandably, Bottas will have probably been out of Verstappen’s sight, so I don’t blame Verstappen. Nobody to blame at all really. Just a racing incident.

    6. Kharma was good and Bottas engine blew up but sadly not soon enough as Merc could use him to hold Vettel up. Later in the year hopefully Ferrari have a chance to use their 2nd car strategically to block the lead Merc. All fair enough.

      1. Mercedes doesn’t need thier 2nd car to hold up Vettel as they can always count on Massa.

    7. Poor track design. Both Verstappen and raikkonen did not apply the brakes as hard as they could and ended back on the track causing further accidents.

      With a gravel trap on the outside of the corner they would never have made it back on the track. In addition it could be argued that Verstappen would never have gone three wide down the outside if he knew there was a race ending gravel trap waiting there for misfortune, rather than get out of jail free tarmac

    8. The incident itself was very much a classic ‘3-into-1-doesn’t-go’ racing incident. However, looking at the onboard from Raikkonen, Verstappen displayed a piece of petulant and very dangerous driving immediately after the incident happened. Even accounting for his broken suspension, he made a clear attempt in my view to brake-test Kimi and in doing so, caused them both to rejoin right amongst the pack. He was very lucky not to have caused a massive pile-up.

      1. There is an excellent analysyis of this incident with a view from above.

        You claim you’ve seen Kiki’s onboard. Then you would also have seen his front tire was very close to the kerb, on its way to clip it. With Bottas in between!
        Bottas was side by side but dropped back. Alas, not fast enough.
        Kimi should have known.

        Verstappen carefully kept half a meter distance from Kimi. That is not petulant nor dangerous. You cannot win races if you leave a bigger gap.
        Nor did he brake late for the corner; he would have missed the corner if he did.
        Kimi and Valtteri did break early ahead of the corner as Valtteri was looking left and right to pass Lewis but had to hold back, getting in Kimi’s way. Max went left to miss Kimi and even more when Kimi started moving towards him, then kept half a meter away once Kimi started turning in.

        1. It’s not the incident itself I was referring to, it was immediately after it happened when Kimi and Max ended up in the middle of the track with the field behind at racing speed with Max gesticulating angrily.

      2. I am not sure you were watching the same race… Max’s suspension and Kimis steering both disintegrate as soon as they crashed so I am not sure what max did wrong after the accident as both of them ended up in the middle of the track as neither could brake properly!

        It was kimi that hit bottas (although I do think it was a racing incident), Max was just hit as a consequence of their coming together. They could have all got through that corner unscathed.

        1. I suppose it just bothered me that Kimi and Max ended up in the middle of the track after the accident with the field coming behind them at racing speed.

          1. Yep, it was dangerous. But I am not sure either of them could do much about it.

    9. See from the replay, Kimi overtake Bottas leaving no space for Bottas, when Kimi’s right rear tyre touch Bottas, suddenly Kimi turn the steer to the left which hit Max. Nothing Max can do about this sudden Kimi movement.

      1. In my view, Kimi had first claim to the corner, he was in front. He had also positioned himself best for the exit, and he left enough space for Valtteri, who would have made the corner just fine had he not understeered into Kimi, or had he managed to wheel-in-wheel.

        Max probably should have left a bit more space, IMO – considering he knew there were two cars on the inside. Had he backed off slightly he could likely have followed the inside line on the exit directly behind Raikkonen, who would have shut the door on Bottas. It’s turn one, you have to assume that when you’re going three abreast there might be a bit of wiggling.

        Nobody was clearly to blame, so racing incident obviously, but the only person who really could have done anything to avoid the incident was Max.

        1. You have it all wrong. Kimi had no claim to the corner because Bottas was already there. Kimi just had more speed during the braking phase. Kimi was forced to turn into Bottas because he had Max on his left turning into him. So it was Kimi who didn’t give Bottas any room.
          So get that clear. Bottas didn’t dive in, he was there all the time. Two cars tried to go round the outside of his car, leaving no room for either of them.

        2. Watch carefully the replay, at the beginning of the turn, Kimi and Botass in parallel, on the apex only half of Kimi’s car ahead of Bottas car, meanwhlie Bottas have no more room (right tyre almost touch the grass), so Kimi had not complete over take while pushing Bottas to edge. When Kimi and Bottas touching, suddenly Kimi make a left swerve and slam into Max car, if Kimi aware Bottas was there and Kimi move gradually to the left (not sudden move), probably Max would have time to response by moving left also. But it was race, Kimi sudden left jerk move was probably his reflect to counter right spin of his car.

    10. This turns into a classic, two guys hit, let’s blame the third….

      Bottas was on the inside, frontwheel next to the rear wheel of Raikkonen, rules say to claim the corner the frontwheel must at least be in front of the rearwheels. Therefore Bottas was at fault, regardless. Did Raikkonen leave enough room for Bottas? Yes I think he did, although Bottas was on the kerbs, that was not what initiated the incident.
      Bottas admitted he slided towards Raikkonen due to understeer… again that is Bottas not being in full controle.

      Verstappen took the outside, there was a good half meter between him and Raikkonen, plenty of room and not even close to wheels to wheel racing. Verstappen didn’t have any influence on the situation whatsoever, just ended up being in the wrong spot.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        15th May 2017, 9:17

        There is no way Bottas was at fault. All were pretty much blameless. Bottas was driving right on the kerb much more than he would do at any other time because he had no room to his left. He had already slowed right down to try and avoid getting into trouble with Vettel and Hamilton. Raikonnen had nowhere to go because of Verstappen. Verstappen won’t have known that he cad 2 cars to his right. If Verstappen had gone to the left a bit more which was possible, Raiknooen could have done the same and given Bottas more space. But it is understandably that Verstappen didn’t do this. as he may not have known he had 2 cars to his right. Bottas couldn’t have gone any tighter than he did without cutting the corner.

        When Raikonnen started to get squeezed in, there was not half a meter between him and Verstappen. When this happened, The only driver who could have done anything different without leaving the track or causing another incident was Verstappen. But I still see no reason to blame any of them. If Bottas braked, he’d have had someone slam into the back of him. I’ve watched about 10 different replays on with Sky F1 and Channel 4’s views and they all think nobody is to blame.

        I just don’t get what Bottas could have done differently. If he didn’t brake early like he did, he could have had another Bahrain 2016 moment which many criticized him for. So he backed off, went as tight as possible but still wasn’t given enough room. But the amount of room he got given couldn’t be helped.

        Racing incident.

        1. This is exactly how it happened, I agree completely.
          Bottas got a massive tow, and was going faster than Vettel hence he had to slow down early.

        2. …and most important: the three drivers involved didn’t blame each other, and the race stewards didn’t think measures were necessary. So I don’t see any reason to start splitting hairs, unless you’re an incurable wiseacre, of course. ;)

        3. I am with you on Bottas being squeezed in, either Bottas had to yield or Raikkonen should have left some room..
          It was Bottas though he slided to the left when he hit the kerbs.. that makes him the intiator of the incident.

          If you check the helicopter view you’ll see going into the corner Verstappen kept as much as a meter between him and Raikkonen, half was the corner that was still about half a meter. that was not a matter of wheel to wheel racing at all.
          Verstappen being on the outside had no influence on the line Bottas and Raikkonen chose.

          The incident shows some similarities of Spa 2016, Vettel squeezed Raikkonen till there was nowhere to go, this time it was Raikkonen squeezing Bottas… however Bottas slided sideways

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