Max drops out after crash at start in Singapore: “It’s not my year”
Published on 17 September 2017 by Mike Motilall
Max Verstappen has dropped out of the Singapore Grand Prix after a huge crash at the start of the race. On a wet track, the Dutchman, who took off from the front row, was cut off by Kimi Raikkonen as well as Sebastian Vettel. The threesome came into contact with each other which caused a major havoc on the circuit. Both Ferrari-drivers and Verstappen as well were immediately out of the race. Lewis Hamilton took the victory home in a race that had no less than three safety car situations. Daniel Ricciardo came in second while Valtteri Bottas rounded up the podium. Carlos Sainz and Jolyon Palmer impressed friends and foe by finishing in fourth and sixth.
While the race was still underway, Max came to the media penn to calmly explain what had happened: “I am already over it. What can you do when you’re sandwiched? I think that you can see on the footage what clearly happened. I was in second gear and had a better start than Vettel. He looked to his left and wanted to cut me off, but I think he didn’t see that Kimi was still there. Even if that would be the case, if you’re going for the championship, you shouldn’t take that much risk. I am not fighting for the championship; I am just trying to win the race. I don’t think that was a very smart move from them. What do you expect? That I would suddenly hit the brakes? And then they cut me off. They know the rears are much wider than the fronts, so I have nowhere to go. The three of us collided resulting in my suspension getting broken. After that I braked for the first corner. Kimi had no tyres on his car, so he came crashing into me on top of that. Then it’s all over. In the end, I am happy that not only I, but all three of us dropped out.”
Despite this new disappointment, Max remains optimistic: “It’s not ideal, but what can you do about it. If you make a mistake yourself and take an off course excursion, that’s something different. I tried to get a good start and saw that Raikkonen had a great start, so I didn’t even try to defend that. It was a long race, but after 200 meters it was already over. It’s of course not my year, and that has been proven once again. You just need to stay positive. It was a good weekend, only the race not so. But we have a good race pace. In Malaysia we need to have a flawless weekend. I am sure that regarding the pace we are alright. I am not sure we can challenge the Ferrari and Mercedes drivers again, but we will see.”
For the second time in his Formula 1-career, Max is starting a race from the front row. Where it remained a dry race the previous nine times the Singapore Grand Prix has been held, this time round the heavens opened up right before the start of the race. The top six starts on the intermediates with Hulkenberg, Alonso and Vandoorne on the full wets behind of them.
Max has a good start, but Kimi Raikkonen has a great start from fourth and dives to the left of Verstappen. The three of them, Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen, all head into the first corner. Verstappen then gets sandwiched between Vettel and Raikkonen. They all come into contact with each other, wreaking havoc in the first corner. Verstappen and Raikkonen both have major damage to their cars and are forced to drop out from the race, while Vettel spins after the first corner. Due to the damage on his car, he is also forced to leave the battlefield. Alonso’s car is also hit by Raikkonen’s Ferrari which had been rendered out of control, but the Spaniard is able to continue his way. Naturally, the safety car is deployed. The top three at that moment is Hamilton, Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg.
On lap five, the field is let loose again. Not much later, on lap eleven, the safety car gets deployed once more due to Daniil Kvyat having parked his Toro Rosso in the wall. The drivers running on full wets, take the opportunity to switch to the intermediates. Fernando Alonso seems to have suffered more damage than initially thought, and the Spaniard is forced to park his McLaren in the pits.
On lap 25, Kevin Magnussen and Felipe Massa are the first to test the waters regarding the regular tyres. That it worked out well, is evident when Magnussen clocks the fastest lap time at that moment. The following laps, the rest of the drivers head in to also change their tyres for the slicks.
The third safety car is deployed when Marcus Ericsson spins on the Anderson Bridge and fails to get his Sauber working again. Nico Hulkenberg, who has been running in fourth at that moment, needs to make an unplanned stop due to technical issues on his Renault. A few laps later, the German drops out. After the safety car, there are no changes regarding positions at the front, which gives Lewis Hamilton the chance to take the victory home and gain an enormous advantage in the standings. Daniel Ricciardo comes in second with Valtteri Bottas in P3. Carlos Sainz scores a fourth place finish. The best result of his Formula 1-career and the best result for Toro Rosso since Verstappen’s fourth place at the Grand Prix of the America’s in 2015. Sixth fastest Jolyon Palmer, scores his first points of this season and his best finish in the Formula 1.
Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay Circuit - Sunday 17 September
RACE RESULTS 01 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 58 2:03:23.544 02 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 58 +4.507s 03 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 58 +8.800s 04 55 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 58 +22.822s 05 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 58 +25.359s 06 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 58 +27.259s 07 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 58 +30.388s 08 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 58 +41.696s 09 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 58 +43.282s 10 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 58 +44.795s 11 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 58 +46.536s 12 94 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 56 +2 laps NC 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 50 DNF NC 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 48 DNF NC 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 35 DNF NC 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 10 DNF NC 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 8 DNF NC 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0 DNF NC 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 0 DNF NC 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 0 DNF