Kubica and Vettel collide (Video) (Update: Vettel handed penalty)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel clashed in dramatic fashion in the dying stages of the Australian Grand Prix.

Kubica was catching Vettel and leader Jenson Button at the time and looked set to mount an improbable bid for victory – instead his race and Vettel’s ended in the barriers.

Kubica had a clear run at Vettel and tried to pass him around the outside of turn three. But the pair banged wheels, and both ripped off part of their front wings.

Both continued but both got no further than turn five. Vettel put his wheels on the grass on the way into the corner and clattered into the barriers. Kubica simply under-steered straight on and met the same end.

Then followed the bizarre sight of Vettel trying to drag his now three-wheeled Red Bull around the track. At first the other cars hesitated to pass him as the safety car had been deployed, but Vettel eventually gave up and pulled his wrecked RB5 to a halt.

The drama meant the race ended behind the safety car for the first time since the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix. Vettel and Kubica were classified 14th and 15th.

Update: Sebastian Vettel has been handed a ten place grid drop penalty for the Malaysian Grand Prix for the incident. To my mind, it looked like a standard racing accident and wouldn’t have apportioned blame on either side. But Vettel immediately apologised so he must have considered himself at fault.

190 comments on “Kubica and Vettel collide (Video) (Update: Vettel handed penalty)”

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  1. Hamilton, driver of the race. Sure the SC helped him out, but he was driving one of the worst cars on the grid and he nearly got onto the podium! Completely unexpected compared to a Brawn 1-2 which was obvious considering their pace.

    1. Terry Fabulous
      29th March 2009, 10:01

      I dunno mate, he was mightily impressive but what about Vettel!!! He was mighty all race long! Or Trulli, he started behind Lew and finished in front.

      But yeah Lewis was a lot better then I expected. I was expecting a sulk and a prang, not in that order.

    2. dont know how you could call that. the toyotas started behind and outpaced him. there’s plenty of winners in that race none of them i’d call hamilton.

  2. Bit of both on this one for sure. Vettel for braking too late on his slippery softs and Kubica not giving any room for error.
    Kubica was on fire though last part of the race.

  3. Pedro Andrade
    29th March 2009, 9:14

    Just a correction Keith: the last race to end behind the safety car was Canada 1999.

  4. both made mistakes, it could be great season start for them, but anyway it was a great race!

  5. poor KUBICA, he was going so fast and trying so hard but made the mistake. it shows the speed of the BMW.

  6. hitchcockm00
    29th March 2009, 9:30

    They were both equally to blame for the first crash and both equally stupid for now slowing down for the next turns.

    Just showed a replay on the BBC forum thing and it looked like Vettel went off trying to avoid a piece of Kubica’s wing in turn 5.

    1. hitchcockm00
      29th March 2009, 9:31


  7. kubica just too fast and vettel didn’t pull back…its a 50 50 error from both driver….i really love to them both in podium..but yay from brawn gp..well deserved 1-2 !!!!

  8. what a shame. KUB was flying and #1 was within his reach. wondering why Vettel was going so much slower on that last lap before the crash.
    looks like bmw has a good car this year or Kubica’s skills are superior as he has no KERS and no diffuser.

  9. hitchcockm00
    29th March 2009, 9:32

    Vettel, Kubica, Trulli and Hamilton are all seeing the stewards.

  10. Apparently the stewards are investigating the incident and have summoned both drivers.

  11. Vettel drove a very good race today. The Red Bull ran second when it didn’t deserve to. A bit too ambitious from Kubika I feel.

  12. christopher
    29th March 2009, 9:40

    awful job on Kubica’s part. surely he could have easily passed coming off a corner onto a straight? what a waste of 2 fantastic drives.

  13. poor KUBICA? plizz, make that “stupid KUBICA!” He had a race win in his sights and couldn’t control himself to give Vettel enough room so he could take him on the next run!

    Anyway, great and mature drive for Hamilton, my driver of the day considering the car. He is the only one of the none “diffuser gang” in the top five, and overtook some cars i never expected him to come close to. Notably he outpaced Alonso who arguably was in a better car.

    Happy for the Brawn pair and Brawn himself. They didn’t look as devastating as expected but still brought the one-two home and for a rookie team that was a great result. Nonetheless, it will be hard for them to hold onto that dominance.

    Great result for Buemi and STR who continue punching well above their weight. Overall, a great race!

  14. think brundle called it spot on, vettel put a wheel on kerb exiting previous corner allowing kubica who was on a mission to put himself in an overtaking position. I think if vettel had a bit more experience he would have conceded and been happy with 3rd. Cant blame he for trying though he had a good race up till then.

  15. All that is the fault of the wider front wings as was being speculated after the rules change. It was quite a bit of a problem in the start also.

    1. yes, but they’ll get used to them. It’s only the first race and the drivers should be good enough to adapt their driving to suit.

  16. Zarathustra
    29th March 2009, 9:50

    Vettel error which he was admit and go to BMW box to say sorry for Kubica.
    Let’s forget it, they both were today awesome.

    But still I feel sorry for Robert, 1st place was in the reach cause Vettel and Button drive on soft not good tires in the end.

  17. chaostheory
    29th March 2009, 9:51

    Vettel had enough room but his soft tires didnt had that much grip that is how he ended on Kubicas rear right wheel. Normal race accident not mistake like those two mistakes by Rubens when he was ramming Raikkonen and someone else…

    1. One mistake by Rubens. The first he was clipped from behing by Heikki.

  18. I can’t believe Vettel has apologised to Theissen. Don’t get me wrong it’s not like Vettel didn’t have a part in that mess.

    But for someone lapping 2 seconds faster surely Kubica would have took him on the next couple of turns, it was very arrogant of Kubica to squeeze Vettel and leave no room.

    Former employer or not, I wouldn’t have apologised and would have told Mario where he can stick his opinion on the incident!

    1. Indeed. I’m starting to worry that Vettel is just too nice to be a WDC!

      I think he’s comprimised himself, like Brundle said on the BBC coverage. Next time they are side by side, I can’t see how it’s going to be a fight.

  19. Am I the only one to notice how close Kubicas tyre came to his head!

  20. A driver with a bit more experience would have known when to concede. Although its hard for racers to have a clear head when there is so much to gain. It did seem like Kubica wanted to make sure Vettel could not continue with the race.

    1. Oliver.. that sounds for me a bit like a conspiracy theory. Where can you see Kubica raming Vetel? What makes you think he wanted to put him out of the race? That was a very clear overtaking manoeuvre with plenty space for Vettel to brake down. The problem was – Vettel was not interested in braking down even if he knwe there is no space for him. And honestly I can see VET hiting KUB rather than KUB hitting VET. Can not understand your weird suspicious. Please be objective, ot at least try to be. We all have seen this race.

    2. you have just get a BBC judgement as a undisputed true. Take look on video from the heli camera – PLENTY of space to brake down for Vettel. But to brake down you need to bush brake pedal. Otherwise it may not work.

    3. Vettel actually started braking before Kubica.

      If I was Robert, I would have left him more room – but it’s of course easy to say sitting here at my keyboard – they had just done about 55 laps of the race.

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