Falling 28 points behind current championship leader Lewis Hamilton in the F1 title race, Canadian professional auto racing driver Jacques Villeneuve thinks that Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel should not have taken such a risk given the track conditions and the importance of a good result for the Maranello team on the Marina Bay Street Circuit, even if the German driver would have lost the position to Max Verstappen immediately after the start of the race.
Sebastian Vettel crashed out of the Singapore Grand Prix after moving across the track to cover Max Verstappen, resulting in heavy contact. While the Red Bull driver and Kimi Raikkonen were forced to retire on the spot, the four-time Formula One world champion spun a few moments later on the opening lap with his already damaged SF70H car hitting the wall hard: “Vettel only has himself to blame.” – Jacques Villeneuve said, as reported by the British and Italian media – “If you take a start and move across the line, the chances are something might happen because you don’t know what is happening behind. They all do that at every start, you see that in Formula 4, Formula 3, they move across the line. Well if you do that, you pay the price. When you fight for a championship, you cannot take a risk like that.” – the former Formula One racing driver explained.
“You don’t change line like this. It doesn’t matter if he could see Kimi [Raikkonen] or not. In his mind, he didn’t know if there were two or three cars there. He knew he had taken an average start, so he knew other people had taken better starts than him. That is why we went across. To think that way they will slow down – no, he ended up crashing. Don’t point at the finger at Max. He was just there.” – Jacques Villeneuve continued.
However, the stewards ruled the crash as a racing incident, which means that no driver received any penalties ahead of the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix, that is due to be held on 1 October 2017 at the Sepang International Circuit. Yet if inspection shows that the accident damaged Sebastian Vettel’s engine, the Maranello team could be forced to replace it. If so, Ferrari would have to move onto its fourth powerplant of the season, according to a reporter from La Repubblica, meaning that no more replacements would be allowed without facing grid penalties in future races.