Vettel blames Karthikeyan for 11th place finish

Mar 26, 2012, 18:03 IST | Agencies

Furious German blames Karthikeyan for his disastrous 11th place finish at Sepang, calls HRT driver a cucumber. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso clinches rain-affected race

Sebastian Vettel blamed a loss of communication and an ignorant Narain Karthikeyan for his Malaysian Grand Prix malaise yesterday, while Ferrari’s Spanish ace Fernando Alonso clinched the rain-interrupted race in thrilling style to claim his first victory in eight months.

For the first time in 27 races Vettel finished a grand prix but failed to pick up a point as he trailed home 11th at the Sepang International Circuit.

Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso celebrates after winning the season's second race yesterday. Pics/Getty Images, AFP.

In rain-hit conditions as the race was suspended for 51 minutes after nine laps, the reigning double world champion was initially handicapped by the failure of his in-car radio. “Crucially we lost radio communication and that makes it very difficult in these conditions to know what’s going on. Today it was crucial to come in at the right time. Having no radio meant we were delayed getting the messages, and I didn’t hear anything from the team at the end,” he said.

Red Bulls' Sebastian Vettel of Germany in an angry mood during the rain interval. Pics/Getty Images, AFP.

Nevertheless, Vettel was running fourth when he collided with Karthikeyan, collecting a right-rear puncture that dropped him out of the top 10. “To get up to fourth, but to then lose the race how I did is very frustrating. Some people need to look more where they are going. Before the incident with HRT the way the race unfolded was good for us, so it’s frustrating to lose it like that.” Talking to German television, he added: “As in real life, there are a few cucumbers on the road.”

Karthikeyan apologises

Karthikeyan — who tangled with McLaren’s Jenson Button at Turn 9 shortly after the race restart — expressed regret over his collisions with the Brit and with Vettel. Button later took responsibility for his incident. Karthikeyan told AUTOSPORT: “I was turning in, there was a bang and I am sorry for Jenson.

What have i done? HRT's Indian driver Narain Karthiyekan looks pensive ahead of yesterday’s Malaysian GP at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur. Pics/Getty Images, AFP.

“Then there was the incident with VetteI. I had to come back on the track from the kerb, and he was there unfortunately and I could not do anything.” Karthikeyan said he spoke to both men to say sorry after the race, AUTOSPORT reported.

Button undone

There were no points for Button, who won last week’s season-opener in Australia, after he collided with  Karthikeyan and dropped to the back of the pack, finally coming in 14th.

Meanwhile, Alonso survived a lengthy rain suspension, a rash of spins and mishaps and a strong challenge from Sauber’s Sergio Perez to finish ahead of the Mexican driver, with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton third.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber was fourth with former world champion Kimi Raikkonen fifth for Lotus.

German great Michael Schumacher, who started third on the grid, finished a disaapointing 10th in his Mercedes.

1: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), 2: Sergio Perez (Sauber), 3: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 4: Mark Webber (Red Bull),
5: Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus-Renault),
6: Bruno Senna (Williams), 7: Paul di Resta (Force India),
8: Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso), 9: Nico Hulkenberg (Force India), 10: Michael Schumacher (Mercedes),
11: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 14: Jenson Button (McLaren), 22: Narain Karthikeyan (HRT)

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