Ferrari Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel’s version of a post-race spat is somehow incredibly tame and hilariously immature all at the same wonderful time. After complaining about a first-lap incident all throughout the Chinese Grand Prix, both he and the target of his rage end up on the podium.
Russian chuckles ensue.
Here’s where Vettel—erm, well. I’d really hesitate to call this a fight since Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat does such a stellar job of shrugging and laughing it off. This is more like a one-sided prolonged whine meant to be savored and appreciated. Here’s the part right before the podium ceremony where Vettel blames Kvyat for all of his problems.
Race winner Nico Rosberg performed a repeat performance of his race by promptly running away from these jamokes. Rosberg got out in front early and ended the day with over 38 seconds separating him from second place finisher Vettel.
“You came in like a torpedo!” said Vettel to Kyvat, gesticulating like an angry mother.
“I was racing,” Kvyat said back, pointing out the obvious. Torpedo-like speed is generally what you go for during a race—bless your heart.
Vettel telling Kvyat “you were lucky this time” as he’s taking off the top of his racing suit almost feels like he’s trying to be Mister Tough Guy, but good grief. Vettel is a guy I like precisely because he’s a bit of a nerd. The same lovable mischievous German who admits to liking Monty Python puffing up all macho-like is a threat more hollow than my sad, meaningless life.
In case you missed this morning’s race, here’s how ridiculous it is for Seb to still be fuming mad at the end of it. It all started with this fairly tame first-lap contact.
That’s it. No one was hurt. No one’s race was over. Everyone made it back into the pits just fine for repairs. Curiously, there weren’t even any retirements during the entire race.
Regardless, Vettel ended up wedged between Red Bull of Daniil Kyvat and the Ferrari of his teammate Kimi Räikkönen. It was one of many racing incidents on the first lap, and it was just that: a racing incident, caused by too many cars trying to funnel into the same space.
Räikkönen tried to turn into the corner, and Kvyat was on the inside of Vettel. Vettel really didn’t have much room between the two cars and tapped Räikkönen in the chaos. Vettel likely felt plenty of shame for colliding with his own teammate now that he’s on his own personal F1 dream team, hence all of his commentary afterwards.
Räikkönen then collided with Kvyat after Vettel ran into him, and he didn’t even seem to be bothered by it. This is why we love Kimi.
The stewards took no action for anything at the start, as they didn’t see any egregious errors to act upon. Vettel was quick to place the blame on the driver who wasn’t in a Ferrari over this team radio, though.
“I made contact, I had no chance to avoid the Red Bull coming on the inside like a madman,” he said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
Vettel seemed weirdly frustrated and feisty throughout this race, though. When he pitted under an early safety car to replace the front wing damaged at the start, he was too impatient to wait for Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. to putter down the pit lane entry. So, he made a surprisingly legal move to pass the two cars on the pit lane entry road.
This was actually kind of awesome, not going to lie. Hülkenberg was later given a five-second time penalty for holding people up in pit lane.
That being said, after Ferrari installed a new wing after Vettel’s first-lap incident, Vettel damaged his front wing again in contact with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. Vettel later claimed that he didn’t notice that he’d made contact with Bottas in his post-race podium interview with German broadcast personality and visual trainwreck Kai Ebel. How do you not notice that you’re shedding bits of wing again? Surely it affected the aero-dependent F1 car’s handling.
And of course, Vettel kept snipping at Kvyat over his team radio. As quoted by Motorsport.com: “Kvyat’s attack was suicidal, no way with the speed he had he would’ve done the corner.”
Even at the end of the race, Vettel just wouldn’t let it go.
“Massive apologies to the team, and surely I didn’t do it on purpose, and I feel really sorry for Kimi,” Vettel radioed over after his team congratulated him on a great recovery drive. “There was nothing I could do. Kyvat came like a torpedo, and I had to react, and there was no way out.”
Vettel may have kept kvetching over the first-lap incident to Ebel during the podium interviews, but it appears as though Kvyat got the real last laugh with the champagne.
Stop taking yourself so seriously, Seb. We adore you the most when you’re not serious at all.