Sebastian Vettel appeared to back down after accusing Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat of being ‘suicidal’ at the start of the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.
The fast starting Kvyat appeared to catch the former Red Bull Racing man unawares at Turn 1 in Shanghai, prompting him to crash into Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, subsequently compromising his race.
Vettel raced on to take second place, while Kvyat picked up the Tilbrook team’s first podium since the Singapore Grand Prix last season in third.
After the race, the German accused Kvyat of being ‘like a torpedo’ into the first corner - an accusation Kvyat laughed off.
“It’s difficult to judge how it looked from his point of view,” Vettel said on the podium, back peddling after their initial argument.
“My start was not so great, so I was a bit on the back foot into Turn 1.
“I think Kimi locked up, went a bit wide, and I wanted to go on the inside to overtake. I think Daniil was trying to do the same thing with me. But then Kimi came back, so I had to be in the middle.
“Daniil was coming with a lot of speed into that gap, and I was very surprised, so I had to steer to the left, but at the same time Kimi was coming across, so we made contact, which is a shame.”
In response, Kvyat defended his move into the first corner.
He said: “I think it was a fair move on Vettel. I saw the gap and I went for it. We didn’t touch, unfortunately for him, Kimi was on his other side.
“For me it was a logical move and it paid off with a podium.
“It’s a nice boost for our side of the garage after a couple of tricky races. It’s also good for the team to be consistently fighting for podiums this year. It’s very encouraging for the season.
“I’m a very happy man today and it’s nice to carry this feeling heading into my home grand prix in Russia.”