Sebastian Vettel’s temperament is under the spotlight again after the Ferrari driver’s hopes of seizing back the Formula One lead disappeared in a few seconds of mayhem at the Singapore Grand Prix.
The German, his fast-starting teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen crashed out as they raced to the first corner.
Stewards summoned all three drivers after the race but decided none was wholly or predominantly to blame.
The view was not shared by others who either pointed the finger at Verstappen or accused Vettel of needless aggression at a key point in the championship.
Long before Hamilton had stretched his lead to 28 points with six races remaining, Ferrari’s official Twitter feed stated that “VER (Verstappen) took #Kimi7 out and then he went to #Seb5.”
Television footage and in-car cameras showed Raikkonen making a storming getaway from fourth on the grid and around Verstappen on the outside.
Vettel, on pole, was slower off the line and steered left to squeeze Verstappen, who kept his car straight and was pincered by the Ferraris.
The Dutch teenager and Raikkonen tangled wheels, with the Finn’s car slewing sideways and into Vettel’s before again careering into the Red Bull and also collecting Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.
Retired Australian driver turned pundit Mark Webber, who had a few clashes with Vettel as Red Bull teammates, defended Verstappen.
Mark Alan Webber is an Australian former professional racing driver, who last competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship as a Porsche works driver in LMP1, in which he won the championship in 2015.
After some racing success in Australia driving Formula Ford and Formula Holden, Webber moved to the United Kingdom in 1995 to further his motorsport career.
Webber began a partnership with fellow Australian Paul Stoddart, at that time owner of the European Racing Formula 3000 team, which eventually took them both into Formula One when Stoddart bought the Minardi team.