Mark Webber has branded Romain Grosjean a “first-lap nutcase” after the Lotus driver slammed into the back of his car at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix and denied the Red Bull driver the chance of a podium finish.
Sun 07.10.12, 12:12AM
Starting from second place, Webber made a poor getaway and was passed by Kamui Kobayashi. That left him battling Grosjean, and going into turn two Webber, in front, turned in. Grosjean, however, misjudged the Australian’s pace and collided with the rear of the Red Bull Racing car.
The accident caused both drivers to head to the pits for repairs. Webber took on hard tyres and opted for a one-stop strategy that eventually allowed him to finish eighth and afterwards he hit out at the Lotus driver’s race craft.
“I haven't seen what happened at the start but the guys confirmed it was the first-lap nutcase again – Grosjean,” said Webber. “The rest of us are trying to fight for some decent results each weekend but he’s trying to get to the third corner as fast as he can at every race.
“It makes it frustrating because a few big guys obviously suffered from that today. Maybe he needs another holiday,” Webber added, referring to the one-race ban Grosjean received for causing a first-corner accident in Belgium. “He needs to have a look at himself obviously. It was completely his fault. How many mistakes can you make, how many times can you make the same error with first-lap incidents? It's quite embarrassing at this level for him.”
Grosjean, meanwhile, was forced to retire late in the race and afterwards admitted that the incident with Webber was his fault.
“Ever since I came back in Singapore my priority has been to be very cautious at the start, and I was watching Sergio [Pérez] on my left to make sure there was no contact with him. There was quite a big speed difference between me and Mark as I came into the first corner, which caught me by surprise and we collided. It was a stupid mistake,” he admitted.
“Mark came to see me after the race and was obviously not happy, but I apologised and we have to move on,” he added. “We’ll sit down and look at things again before the next race to see what we can do to improve these situations. Not a good day, but we have to look ahead to Korea and a chance to make amends.”