Why Vettel and Verstappen avoided penalty for Suzuka crash
Charlie Whiting has explained why Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen both escaped punishment for their collision at the Japanese Grand Prix, while refuting the Red Bull driver's argument that his Ferrari counterpart had deserved to be penalised over the incident.
Vettel was sent into a spin after banging into the side of Verstappen while attempting a dive up the inside of Spoon Curve at the safety-car restart in Sunday's race.
Verstappen had been given a five-second penalty for an earlier incident with Vettel's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
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After dropping to the back of the field, eventually fighting back to sixth, Vettel accused Verstappen of not giving him enough room, but the Dutchman had pointed the finger the other way.
"Seb tried to get up the inside, it was a reasonable move, got halfway alongside, Max turned in - a bit of a classic really," FIA race director Whiting explained.
"As you know stewards don't normally give penalties unless they are sure one driver was wholly or predominantly to blame. Opinions will vary whether it was equal blame, but certainly no driver was predominantly to blame."
Verstappen said the incident matched his collision in China with Vettel, for which the Red Bull man was given a 10-second penalty.
But Whiting disagreed, explaining: "That was at the hairpin, he came charging down the inside into the hairpin and almost T-boned Seb. I don't think there was any similarity between those two.
"I haven't had a look at the one from China yet, but my recollection of that incident was that it was a very clear case of causing a collision.
"I think what Sebastian was doing was a genuine attempt to overtake, and I think what Max was doing in China was opportunistic at best."
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