Formula One: Webber penalized for Chinese GP collision

Red Bull driver Mark Webber  during the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai. Photo / AP
Red Bull driver Mark Webber during the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai. Photo / AP

Mark Webber pointed the finger at Jean-Eric Vergne at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday after the Australian was hit with a grid penalty for the next race in Bahrain following a collision between the pair.

Webber, who failed to finish in Shanghai after losing a tyre soon after, was hauled before race stewards, capping a dreadful weekend for the 36-year-old in which he started the race in the pit lane after a fuel problem in qualifying.

The Red Bull driver will drop three places on the grid in Bahrain next weekend.

Explaining his attempted move on the Toro Rosso that caused the prang, Webber said: "I was coming from a reasonable distance behind, Jean-Eric was really wide but, when we came close to the apex, he wanted to hit it, which he is entitled to do.

"But by then, I was committed to the inside and the incident happened," added Webber, whose car was damaged at the front, forcing him to pit.

"It was a couple of laps before our pit-stop window, so I had to come in early.

"The guys thought the tyre was fixed when we left the stop, but it came off on the out lap. We have had a few problems this weekend; I think we could have done something from our start position today, but it wasn't meant to be."

Vergne, who was able to continue the race, finishing 12th, said: "I think Mark could not have got through from where he tried and I'm not even sure if he was trying to pass me. Certainly, I didn't even know he was there.

"Unfortunately, the impact put me into a spin and the incident damaged my floor. From then, I lost a lot of downforce. It was not a good race from then on, having lost a lot of time and having to drive a damaged car."

Separately, Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez will drop five places on the Bahrain grid after stewards penalised him for his collision with Force India's Adrian Sutil, forcing both men out of the race.

-AAP

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