Niki Lauda has joined scores of fans and insiders who blame Sebastian Vettel for putting his championship hopes in tatters in Singapore. On Twitter, the Maranello team lashed out at Max Verstappen for Sunday's first corner crash, while boss Maurizio Arrivabene said it was "clearly" the Red Bull driver's fault.
But Lauda, the F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman, told Osterreich newspaper: "It was clearly Sebastian's fault. I don't know why he would risk so much at this important stage of the world championship." He also told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "If that had happened in my time, we would have walked back to Maranello."
Why German Vettel was not punished by the stewards for causing the crash, meanwhile, is another matter. Jos Verstappen, Max's father, told motorsport-magazin.com he sensed a "political" reason. "If they (the FIA) gave him a real punishment, the championship would be over," he said.
And the Spanish newspaper Marca quoted Mark Webber as saying the stewards not punishing Vettel was "a joke". "I think sometimes Seb forgets where the back of his car is," said Vettel's former Red Bull teammate.
But it could get worse for Vettel anyway. La Repubblica newspaper reports that the German's engine may have been damaged in the crash. "The one used in Singapore was number 3 for the season. If it cannot be recovered, Vettel may take penalties later in the season," the reporter noted. (GMM)