Vettel tones down Kvyat criticism

I’ve spent much time defending the aggressive moves of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. I’ve advocated for Nico Rosberg in Spa of 2014 and for him to get aggressive with his battle against Hamilton. I’ve defended Schumacher and Alonso as well as Webber for their aggressive moves.

No surprise then that I defended Daniil Kvyat for his aggressive move in the Chinese Grand Prix at turn one.

Yes, the move was an opportunity that the Russian took. It was a similar move that Williams F1’s Valtteri Bottas took earlier this season and I didn’t like the penalty he gained for his efforts.

Kvyat’s move was met with some comment from Vettel and it reminded me of the days when Senna scolded Schumacher or Schumacher scolded Sato or Webber scolded Vettel if I’m honest. The veteran giving the young gun a dressing down.

i’ve been an advocate of Kvyat’s for some time now and get slightly miffed when people suggest that the team should keep Ricciardo and ditch Kvyat in favor of Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen of Carlos Sainz. Daniil have been delivering performances and I think the young man has ever right to be on the grid and in a decent car. He’s got more raw speed and talent than others on the grid and I really like his style.

What would people have said if it were Ricciardo making the move in China? Would Vettel have had the same response? I doubt it. People have, for good reason, equated Ricciardo as a top-line driver and aggressive…and he is…but they don’t see Kvyat as that kind of driver worthy of that kind of respect. I do.

If you pressed me, I would admit that he isn’t quite there on race craft as say, Ricciardo, Rosberg, Raikkonen, and maybe even Bottas but he can run with them and I like the fact that he told Vettel to deal with it because he’s not braking for anyone and is taking every opportunity he see. That, as it turns out, is the case for Vettel and Hamilton and Alonso by the way.

Sebastian Vettel has had time to view video and has toned down his commentary:

“What happened on the first lap, in the end, is a racing incident,” Vettel said.

“Kimi locked up in Turn 1. I tried to go inside to pass him. Daniil was behind me. He had a better start and was lining up for the same move initially. I was determined to overtake Kimi. Daniil was determined to overtake me.

“Kimi came back from the left, Kvyat came from the back right and I was reacting to him. From my side I didn’t really know where to go, I was sandwiched between Kimi and Daniil.

“I tried to back out of it, going off throttle and hitting the brakes, but there was no way, so I had contact with Kimi.

“Obviously I am terribly sorry for what has happened. Touching the car with the same colours is not right.”

Kvyat defended his move:

“It was a logical move: you see the gap and you go for it,” he said. “If he [Vettel] didn’t have a car on the outside it would have been okay: I only have two eyes so I couldn’t see Kimi, and it’s his [Vettel’s] business to deal with that.

“When the emotions are hot, you talk about it – but in our case to get on the podium you have to take risks. It was an essential move for me and it paid off.

“We can talk for hours about it but I am on the podium; if I didn’t go for it who knows where I would be. I will keep on risking like this and everyone should expect that!”

I understand Vettel’s point but there is an issue that caught my eye. Raikkonen’s quick entrance back on track which squeezed Vettel leaving him nowhere to go. It was an aggressive re-entry to the racing line that caught Vettel off guard and as it turns out, it was Kimi’s re-entry that caught Sauber’s Felipe Nasr off guard and he turned abruptly to avoid the Finn and took off Lewis Hamilton’s nose.

There’s more at play here than just making a diving move for position and I doubt Red Bull would want Daniil to do anything different…at least they didn’t when Vettel drove for them.

Hat Tip: F1

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If I were Seb, I would put the blame on kimi. I’m not sure what kimi’s rational was for trying to turn back into the track.

But obviously Seb can’t blame kimi over the radio/interviews so he put it all on kvyat.

Jack Flash (Australia)

Kudos to NC for assessing and reporting the bigger picture :-)

Jack Flash (Australia)

Actually for the record… Kimi did the “racing line drop-in” twice in the same corner. First a turn in from his wide run sharply towards C2 apex that squeezed Vettel and largely contributed to their “Scuderia Billiards” event… and then again after being shunted off track on outside of corner Kimi re-entered sharply in front of Ericsson like a “old Caddy driver” obliviously causing collisions behind him.

Driving Miss Daisy anyone???


So now it’s Kimi’s fault that Seb hit him? I think Vettel is of course an excellent driver, but he chose to hit Kimi instead of being hit by Kvyat. Just a racing move, no need to trounce the young Red Bull driver. Vettel was playing damage control for the grave error of swatting your teammate. Bad move when the Ferrari President is there watching.

Jack Flash (Australia)

No. A contributing factor.


I’m a big Vettel fan but I side with Dani. That track is very wide, and Dani saw an opening. Good on Vettel to change his tone. That racing. Sh*t happens. Also relieved no one was penalized like Bottas in the last race. That made me so mad I stopped watching the Bahrain GP.

Jack Flash (Australia)

The Racing Steward was Alan Jones again in China.
AJ liked the argy-bargy of tough racing… so it is no surprise that ONLY penalty of ajudication was Hulkenbergs “go slow” in the pit entry (5 sec time penalty).

More of AJ in Stewards office. (Permanent job??)

Junipero Mariano

I’ll take my chances with these guys at turn one, lap one over Black Friday at Wal-Mart anytime.

Tim Watts

Its hard to ignore that Ric had a puncture a poorly timed safety car, had to overtake most of the field and somehow ended up around 6 seconds behind his team mate who largely ran in free space. Kvyat will be replaced as he is way too slow it may even happen before the end of the season

Ikke niet

Yep your right put Max in his place and you have a regular podiumplace for Red Bull for sure…


Really? He was was so slow he beat his partner in points last year? Oh wait? wasn’t he on the podium last year as well? At this rate, he is on track to beat his ream mate again this year.


As much as you’re a Ricciardo hater Bob (only because he was a Vettel beater one year) you cannot possibly make the claim that this inherited place over Ricciardos effort means a consistent notable advancement of Kvyatt over Ricciardo. If you must apply “at this rate” so early in the season you would have to think Kvyatts position in the top team is in danger compared to Ricciardos given he is third in the championship and still ahead of your precious one.


How did Riccardo get that flat again?

Paul KieferJr

I think he cut his on debris.

Meine Postma

Said Senna after he intentionally knocked Prost off the track.

jiji the cat

No. Said senna after Prost closed the door.

Richard Piers

Good that Vettel cooled off. I only saw the replay once but Kvyatt did nothing wrong, the opening was there. Vettel, for whatever reason, had run wide, and Kvatt did not touch Vettel at all. As you say Raikkonen rejoined the track at an acute angle and too soon and that is what caught out Vettel. I think Kvyatt is good & often the equal of or better than Ricciardo, another season and he will be as good as anyone.


Had he not run wide, there is no way he could have got through the turn. That was the normal line for that turn.

Richard Piers

Immaterial Bob, though there is no normal line at the start you go where you can. There was a space and Kvyatt went there, absolutely no contact.
Many years ago the grids were much more compact and often much fuller ( not necessarily F1 ) and whilst there were certainly comings together they were less frequent because by and large accidents hurt.
The old adage “first you have to finish” applies.

Emil Forsmark

Wasnt it Nasr that hit Hamilton? Ericsson did hit the front win of Grosjean that made it his worst birthday..


I can understand Vettels reaction after the race. I watched the incident a couple of times now, and the speed that Kyvat had to take to make the pass put him on a trajectory onto the middle of the track that would inevitably lead to a crash. He was only very fortunate that he himself was not involved. Also his comment after the race to Vettel, that he could not see Kimi, only Vettel was a bit lame. At a start there are always 3 or more cars alongside each other, even if you do not see them. Having said… Read more »


I agree that I can sort of see everyone’s point. That turn is one where you have to be outside, then cross to inside. So in a way, just because Vettel wasn’t inside at the moment Kvyat bombed in there, doesn’t mean everyone in the world can’t see he’s going to need to be inside in just a second. In other words, Kvyat didn’t respect Vettel’s racing line. That would be a valid argument anywhere but on the first corner of the first lap, where you know the whole track is going to be full of cars and you’re going… Read more »

Peter Riva

Absolutely. I agree with you here on Vettel’s racing line. Everyone always says “the racing line” as justification – but this time no one wants to mention it because they like Kvyat sooooooo much.
I am waiting for NC and Co. to start a nickname for him like Hobbs does for Hamilton (“Louise”)… Hey, how about “Bubbola?”


How about Bubbooska?

Peter Riva

Good one…


Seems to me that Vettel found himself in the awkward situation of having hit his team-mate in front of the big boss of Ferrari and Fiat, and so had to find someone else to blame. Or he saw the Red Bull coming down his inside and forgot he was no longer driving for them and instinctively turned away from the car he thought was his team-mate, so colliding with ‘a Ferrari’.


Read my above comments.

Andreas Möller

Not much blame to be put anywhere, in my opinion. Vettel left the door open, and Kvyat stepped in (as he should). Realizing that there was a Red Bull where he had planned to be, Seb had to move. Unfortunately, the other spot where he could go was being occupied by Kimi… that’s racing for you.


It’s the opening lap. All of the drivers know that you have to be especially careful in the corners and be prepared to go two and three wide so that everybody makes it through. Kimi chooses this particular time to close the door on his own teammate? And then causes another accident with shall we say a “less that stellar” re-entry onto the track? It’s not everyday that you get to cause two accidents on the same lap.

I agree that they were racing incidents, but I’m calling a “Maldonado” on Kimi.

Peter Riva

Okay, I get it, you like aggressive driving… but consider this, please: 1. Take a careful look at corner 1 on that track. It is a diminishing radius curve. 2. Kvyat was BEHIND Vettel and was cutting his racing line and knew it. 3. Take away the car safety features – now imagine you are vulnerable in a 150mph crash – would you risk your life (see above criteria) that way? 4. And VERY IMPORTANT: if the result would have been Kvyat ruining his own race would you say the same thing? Kids trained on bumper cars will drive “aggressively”… Read more »


That particular move is a signature Red Bull move. They promote it. Vettel used to do it and when he did, he could usually pull it off without incident. Webber was famous for it as well as Riccardo. However, one size does not fit all and that is where these guys become a problem. Vettel was on the correct line for negotiating the curve. That being the case, it looks like a huge gap. However, that gap does not extend around the corner because the apex would be impossibly tight on the inside like that on that particular curve. The… Read more »

Richard Piers

Too many of you guys have obviously never been in a start of open wheeled cars. You go where you can and avoid contact at all costs, particularly with these damn fool front wings. There is no line at the start.
Whatever may been the various factors it was the two Ferraris that hit each other and that was because KR speared back on track too soon and at an acute angle.

Peter Riva

Vettel’s line? Yes, I agree. Instinct to turn away from the torpedo? Instinct and in the fraction of a second the only thing any driver would do (okay, not Maldonado who would have taken 5 cars with him). What so many pundits have NOT taken into account is that the curve is a diminishing radius curve and an EXPERIENCED driver would not hope to make the corner cutting in that way. Even if Kvyat had made the corner, he would have swung stright into traffic on the other side of the curve. But forcing (bumping missed by an inch) Vettel… Read more »


Kvyat did however make the corner without hitting anyone. There were plenty of drivers on the outside of the corner and he didn’t need to use any of them to slow him down. Vettel plainly wasn’t expecting anyone to try and go inside of him, and possibly over reacted in the way he turned the steering, which resulted in the contact with Raikkonen. A more aggressive driver in Vettel’s position may have tightened his line forcing Kvyat to crash into him or back off. I think Vettel’s outburst on the radio was to cover his embarrassment at hitting his team-mate,… Read more »

Peter Riva

You say, “Kvyat did however make the corner without hitting anyone.”
True but It wasn’t for trying!

Richard Piers

DI Blundell well known footballer, but he’s learned not to include ye’know every few words and not one sniff. Otherwise spot on.

Paul KieferJr

I personally think, in the end, that this was Vettel’s fault. He just wasn’t paying attention to everything and that’s what put him in a bad spot, and then everything happens. It happens even to the best of us.

Paul Riseborough

Gutsy move by Kvyat and this time fortune favoured the brave. Given his lacklustre performances in qualifying so far this year, he will need strong race performances to hold his seat.

Rafael Vieira

Vettel just used the TV cameras to try to hide his Turn one mistake. Unfortunately he allowed Kvyat put the car in that excelent inside spot and nothing could be done. Can you guys imagine how is this digested by a 4x champion seeing an average driver overtaking him like a “torpedo”? And crashing with his team mate? He was cleaver, everyone are looking for them.


I didn’t really have an issue with Vettel laying in to Daniil. If he had tried that move against a less experienced driver, he may have knocked out all three of them. BUT, that is a risk of racing, Daniil knew who he was doing it to and probably knew that Vettel would rather give him the room than ruin his race. But in the end, every time I’ve watched it, it has looked like the collision was Kimi’s fault. He came back on track and looked like he hardly had control of his car. His line was way too… Read more »