McLaren driver Jenson Button’s day ended early in the Korean Grand Prix as Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi, who finished ont he podium two weeks ago in Japan, clouted Nico Rosberg and caromed into Button’s front right wheel ending the Brits race. Kobayashi was handed a drive-through penalty for his part int he incident which Buttons says was not enough. Kobayashi’s teammate, Sergio Perez, also force Button wide as the Mexican out-braked himself into turn 1 creating a dicey situation.
Button immediately radioed his race was done and called Kobayashi and “idiot” then later told the press:
“It seems both Sauber drivers think the first lap of the race is the only lap,” Button said.
“[They] have got a great car underneath them and could score such great points here if they just kept their heads together. I don’t know what they were doing.
“I got a really good start and passed Michael and was alongside Nico when Perez came from nowhere, chucked it up the inside, outbraked himself and hit the car in front.
“I had to run wide and push Nico off the circuit to stop an incident, so then Nico and I had a drag race down the back straights, Saubers all over the back of us.
“Basically I braked very, very late as I’m sure Nico did, and then suddenly got a big bang on the right hand side and Kamui came flying past. I don’t know how he hit two of us, which was pretty special.
“It’s very poor driving standards, considering this is the pinnacle of motorsport. It’s not just a slight misjudgement, its massive.
“There is so much opportunity here as well with way tyres are working and the DRS zone. It’s a great circuit for overtaking, which is why it so surprising people are driving like that.”
If Perez was trying to impress his new teammate for 2013 at McLaren, this wasn’t the way to do it. The DNF for button was a big blow for the team who struggled to get Lewis Hamilton on pace with what appears to be a dodgy set-up for the car on Sunday and this allowed Ferrari to overtake the Woking-based team in the Constructor’s Championship for 2012.
As for Kobayashi’s role in the incident, he has taken responsibility for his actions telling the press:
“This is a race to forget,” said Kobayashi. “Initially I had a good start but then we were four cars side by side approaching Turn 3. I had Nico to the right and Jenson and Sergio on my left hand side.
“Someone hit my rear tyre and then it was impossible to control the car, but I had to brake at some point. I didn’t manage to avoid the accident, and I feel very sorry for ruining someone else’s race, and certainly this was not my intention.
“It was just a very difficult moment and I had nowhere to go but I think it was my mistake.”
All eyes were on Lotus F1’s Romain Grosjean who has been labeled as the “first-lap nutcase” by Red Bull’s MArk Webber but the Frenchman made a tidy start and finished a terrific race with Kobayahsi now presenting himself as an over-eager first-lap opportunist.