Sebastian Vettel has been given a three-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Formula 1 race in Japan after causing a collision with Nico Rosberg at the start of Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Vettel tried to move up into second place at the first corner at Sepang, diving down the inside of both Max Verstappen and Rosberg, only to hit both of them and send the Mercedes driver into a spin.
Rosberg was able to recover to finish third, while Vettel retired after the impact broke his front suspension and bent his front-left wheel.
Verstappen took to team radio to call Vettel an “idiot”, while Rosberg feared “it was all over” due to the severity of the impact.
The stewards announced that the incident would be investigated after the race, with Vettel making an appearance at their office on Sunday evening.
The panel looked dimly on Vettel’s move, handing him a three-place grid drop for next weekend’s race at Suzuka and two penalty points on his FIA super license.
“We had a good start, then I was going side by side with Max. We were both battling for position into turn one,” Vettel explained.
“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 anymore 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.
“I don’t have to comment on what Max said afterwards.”