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Mon Apr 21 14:10:12 SAST 2014

Webber slams ‘nutcase’ Grosjean

Alan Baldwin, Reuters | 07 October, 2012 14:370 Comments
The car of Red Bull Formula One driver Mark Webber (R) of Australia sit idle on the track after a multiple collision in the first corner of the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit October 7, 2012. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Image by: Issei Kato / REUTERS

Angry Australian Mark Webber branded Romain Grosjean a “first-lap nutcase” on Sunday following a Japanese Grand Prix collision that wrecked the Red Bull driver’s hopes of a podium finish.

Webber lined up on the front row of the grid alongside teammate and eventual winner Sebastian Vettel on pole position but contact with Grosjean in the opening seconds sent the Australian to the back of the field from where he fought back to ninth.

“I haven’t seen what happened at the start but the guys confirmed it was the first-lap nutcase again,” Webber said of Frenchman Grosjean.

“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,” he told Sky television in the Suzuka paddock.

Lotus driver Grosjean missed last month’s Italian Formula One Grand Prix after being banned for causing a first corner pile-up at the previous race in Belgium.

That accident sent his car flying over championship leader Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari in a smash that ended the Spaniard’s race.

Alonso retired from Sunday’s race at Suzuka after contact with the Lotus of Grosjean’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen slashed a tyre and sent the Ferrari spinning onto the gravel.

Webber is now 60 points behind Alonso with five races remaining.

“He needs to have a look at himself,” continued Webber of the Frenchman, who is in his first full season with Lotus.

“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.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner sympathised with his driver and said it was “completely unacceptable” for Grosjean to be having so many incidents.

“It just looked like Grosjean completely misjudged where Mark was,” he told reporters.

“I think it’s the seventh incident that he’s had this year and I think he needs to really talk to himself or his team need to talk to him because ... not only is it dangerous for others but he’s cost himself and his team a colossal amount of points together with the innocent victims that he’s collected en route.

“Mark has every right to express his feelings,” added Horner, whose team lead the constructors’ standings and have Vettel just four points behind Alonso.

Horner said Grosjean, who had started on the row behind Webber and was handed a 10 second stop/go penalty for causing the collision, was clearly a repeat offender despite the past punishment.

“The most worrying thing is he doesn’t appear to be learning from his mistakes,” said the team boss. 

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