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

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.

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

  1. Swaveck said on 29th March 2009, 13:09

    John Spence, does it mean you reccomend Vettel to lie to save his own ass? I thought it is a sport for gentleman, and it looks like VET is aware of that.

    I have a lot of respect to him now, since he had balls big enough to admitt it was his fault. Unfortunetelly some of the guys on the forum still trying to defend him even after his addmision.

  2. Mussolini's Pet Cat said on 29th March 2009, 13:12

    Internet, as usual your grasp of f1 is totally flawed! How can you say Hamilton was the best driver today?Button having a great car is only part of the package. He drove a faultless race, using his smooth style to full effect. Remember, that car has had very little testing, so it’s reliabilty was always going to be a uncertain variable. Hats off to you Jens, you and Brawn GP earned & deserved that win.

  3. cptslow said on 29th March 2009, 13:12

    c’mon I can’t believe what i’m reading here.

    KUB was gaining and had a shot to overtake. However, as a racing driver you need to be aware of the fact that not pieces of matter can be one and the same place. If you force someone onto to the inside curb he will run wide a little after (less grip on the curb). There was nothing vettel could do. Braking into a turn is ont the edge; VET couldn’t brake harder to leave room. The overtaker, even if faster by 1.5s per lap has to ensure his room for the overtake. KUB gambled and lost. It was edgy racing from KUB but not worth a penalty. The penalty for VET is plain wrong, has to be appealed AND overruled. It is not a matter of opinion. VET did nothing wrong: this enalty is not called for.

  4. Swaveck said on 29th March 2009, 13:18

    hitchcockm00 says:
    March 29, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    If Vettel’s apology did have an effect on the decision then that’s very poor form from the stewards.
    Just as drivers often claim in the heat of the moment that they had no part in an incident, they also may claim that it was all their fault (as Vettel did).

    I do agree. I think stewards have made their decision based on VET statement which should never happend. Since VET has confirmed his fault, punishment should be rather simbolic. Moving back about 10 places on the grid is far to heavy punishment.

  5. NDINYO said on 29th March 2009, 13:29

    Mussolini – Lewis started 18th and finished 3rd in a car almost two seconds and at least a second off the pace of the Brawn. On the other hand, Button started 1st and finished 1st with the fastest car on the grid. As has been said of Ham in similar positions in the past, that doesn’t require much skill to win. Just on the basis of race craft, i would easily give Lewis my driver of the day over Button.

    • Blender said on 29th March 2009, 19:33

      You’re funny guy NDINYO. Hamilton got points only because ofmany top drivers retired and also because of safety cars. Give me a break. Top 3 drivers: Button, Kubica and Vettel.

  6. Lewis lucked into the position through good tactics and lucky timing of the first safety car, along with accidents of other cars.

    Much like his Monaco win last year, it was more of a case of being in the right place at the right time, not amazing race craft.

    • hitchcockm00 said on 29th March 2009, 13:42

      Really? So he didn’t do more overtaking than most of the other drivers then?

      Come on, I’m not a big Hamilton fan either but even I can see that his car is a dog and he drove very well.
      He obviously lucked into such a high position but he also drove fantastically.

      I’m watching the race again now and I think Kubica should do the same to get some overtaking tips.
      Hamilton pulled off a very similar overtake on Piquet around the outside of turn 3 and gave him plenty of room like Kubica should have with Vettel.

  7. Swaveck said on 29th March 2009, 13:37

    cptslow, it is interresting what you have written, especialy after what Vettels have said. :))
    Take look on the camera from heli again – VET started braking very early, and as soon he realised he is being overtaken he release brake pedal not to allow KUB go into the corner – which finally lead to the collision due to VET lack of grip on his tired tyres. I’m sure he was aware that his brakes performence was a bit lower thank KUB since he was catching him every sector about 0.6 sec. He is just young.. anyway – too bad for both of them.

    And at the end (I hope) of this topic – please read Vetter statement where he agreed it was his fault.

    • hitchcockm00 said on 29th March 2009, 13:44

      You said it yourself, he braked early. He did that to *avoid* an accident. He just understeered into Kubica.

      Why would he deliberately throw away a podium by hitting Kubica??

    • Blender said on 29th March 2009, 19:37

      Because he’s dumb ?

  8. Chris said on 29th March 2009, 13:45

    I disegree that there was no room for Vettel, it was­ enough of space, besides, firstly, Kubica was in front­ of Vettel anyway, secondly, Kubica was faster because­ Vettel was on a softer tyres,and thirdly Vettel had no­ chance to keep second place with 3 laps to go so why­ the hell he did not let him by??? Those who are saying­ that Kubica could wait for a better chance to overtake­ Vettel are wrong and completely do not understand­ Robert’s intensions. Kubica could not waste much­ time for overtaking Vettel because he was chasing­ Button who was struggling on a softer tyres as well as­ German driver. And if not that act of stupidness by Red­ Bull driver, Kubica might have done it. If you do not­ believe it, check the last lap times. Of course he­ could easily be third and gain vital points. But Kubica­ showed that he is a real race driver, same mentality as­ Schumacher and Senna, I am not scared to say it.­ Fighter who do not calculate when there is a chance to­ win. Stewards made the only right decision. Despite­ their previous controversial verdicts they were­ absolutely right this time. Even Sebastian Vettel­ admitted his fault by saying to his team through the­ radio just after the accident: “I am an IDIOT, I­ am really, really sorry”. So taken this honest­ declaration into consideration what can you expect from­ the stewards? Not to punish him? To punish Kubica? Of­ course not.

  9. Mr Soap said on 29th March 2009, 13:50

    Mmm, from BBC site…

    “In the key part of the incident, which stewards deemed to be the German’s fault, the Red Bull’s front wheel tagged the rear wheel of the BMW after the Pole had given Vettel room.”

    Except by this point, Vettel had no front wing. The first contact removed Vettels front wing, and consequently any control. The second contact was the one mentioned as Vettels fault.

    At the point the front wing was removed, Kubica hadn’t given him room. There’s a few frames where you can clearly see both Vettels wing falling off, and Vettels front right tyre still on the Kerb.

    The stewards obviously didn’t check the video for that long, and have come to the wrong decision, judging by what they’ve said.

  10. Swaveck said on 29th March 2009, 14:20

    hitchcockm00 says:
    March 29, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    You said it yourself, he braked early. He did that to *avoid* an accident. He just understeered into Kubica.

    What you have forget to mention is that I have also said that as soon as VET realizsed he make mistake by too early braking he RELEASE brake pedal to speed-up a bit to be in fron of KUB at the enter to 3rd corner. Nufortunatelly it looks like he have forgotten that his tyres are in bad condition so he simply crushed into KUB.
    PLEASE – WATCH IT AGAIN from the birds view – clearly VET has released brakes not to allow KUB clear way into corner and he MUST knew it will lead to smaller or bigger collision. This time it was a bit bigger so they both have lost their points.. and the question – was it worth it? KUB would overtake him anyway. So VET has nothing to win and a lot to lose. Thats why I see VET move as a pure stupidity.

    • hitchcockm00 said on 29th March 2009, 14:59

      He released the brakes to turn into the corner…you can’t turn in with your brakes on.

      Watch Hamilton’s move on Piquet earlier in the race on the same corner. He gave Piquet plenty of room and the move worked perfectly. Then compare it to Kubica, who did not give Vettel enough room to make a mistake. Vettel then made a mistake and hit Kubica.
      They were both to blame!

  11. Cameron said on 29th March 2009, 14:34

    It was a racing incident. Vettel grid gird drop for the next Grand Prix is just yet another injustice in Formula One in recent years.

    Yeah yeah Vettel could have conceded, and yeah Kubica could have left more room. Whatever… some times drivers collided. These things happen, and are part of what makes motor sport so great.

    As for Kubica being in the running for the win… I think some people just have some very big dreams. I’ll agree second place was probably his, but not first. Button didn’t seem to be pushing too hard, I’m sure he had more in him to fight of Kubica.

    • Toby Thwaites 93 said on 29th March 2009, 14:48

      No WAY, Kubica would of caught up to Button easily, it would of just been the case of, if Kubica had a good enough oppertunity to take Button in the final corners.
      It wasnt a dream, Kubica had great chances for winning today

  12. kurtosis said on 29th March 2009, 14:36

    Racing accident. End of story. We need more of this kind of aggressive driving, and I expect to see this continue from Vettel. Hopefully the rest of the drivers also start behaving like racers.

    Vettel was supposed to “let him by”? What a joke.

  13. StrFerrari4Ever said on 29th March 2009, 14:52

    Well to me this was 50/50 Vettel made a mistake in turn 1 and Kubica got a run on him Vettel braked first and he took the racing line but you cannot blame all of it on him due to the fact those super soft tyres had no grip at all and Vettel’s front wing had made contact with the BMW Vettel didnt mean to he just lost control of it underbraking i dont think he deserved the 10 place grid drop the fine yes because it states in the regulations but the grid drop i was a bit uncertain

  14. The Limit said on 29th March 2009, 15:12

    I have to admit that I was not surprised to see Kubica and Vettel come together like they did. During the race, even the commentators mentioned how aggressively Robert was defending his line from other drivers. He was just really on it today.
    However, I am disappointed more for Vettel after he had been so consistent over the course of the majority of the race. He deserved that podium, and I could not help but be reminded of Fuji 2007 on seeing his three wheeled car come to a halt trackside.
    As for the accident, I would have to point accusing fingers a little bit more at Kubica. The onboard shots prior to the crash clearly show Vettel struggling for grip, on soft compound tyres rapidly using any cohesion.
    After watching the replays, you can clearly see Vettel’s Red Bull well over the apex of the corner. He had no where to go, except into the BMW Sauber. That is the risk you take when trying to pass someone on the outside, on rapidly degrading rubber, three laps from the finish.
    Vettel positioned himself correctly, blocking the inside and hugging the apex, denying Kubica the opportunity to pass on the inside.
    Great drivers take risks, chances, especially when they are as ambitious and as talented as Robert Kubica.
    However, I find it hard to believe that Robert did not know or realise that Vettel was struggling with his tyres. The tv shots show it quite clearly.
    Thankfully, they both survived their shunts without any injuries except to their pride. I have to admit, for a second I thought Kubica had been struck on the head by one of those loose tyres post impact. It was a big hit, but I thought the teathers were supposed to stop the tyres coming off like that?
    Come what may, that won’t be the last time Vettel and Kubica go at it this season, mark my words

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th March 2009, 15:31

      That is the risk you take when trying to pass someone on the outside, on rapidly degrading rubber, three laps from the finish.

      That’s a very good point – a bit like Montoya and Coulthard at the Nurburgring in 2002.

  15. Phil said on 29th March 2009, 15:34

    Apparently Vettel was demoted in Malaysia for the incident with Kubica and the team were fined for the aftermath, i.e driving around on 3 wheels trying to finish (as instructed to do by Toyota). The stewards have now clarified that, according to F1-Live.com.

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