Vitaly Petrov has revealed that he has been the target of shocking abuse from so-called F1 'fans' on his social-networking Facebook
page, with a string of sickening insults and bitter accusations that he was responsible for Fernando Alonso failing to clinch a third career crown in the top flight this year.
In the Abu Dhabi season finale just under a fortnight ago, a misguided strategy from Ferrari saw Alonso emerge from his sole pit-stop of the race on lap 15 behind the very early-stopping Petrov, who had taken advantage of the opening lap safety car period to complete his own mandatory tyre-change.
For the remainder of the grand prix, the Spaniard would try in vain to find a way past his Russian adversary, who defended his position sternly but fairly – and in taking the chequered flag just seventh in the UAE, Alonso missed out on the title to Red Bull Racing rival and race-winner Sebastian Vettel by a mere four points, whilst Petrov conversely did his chances of hanging onto his seat into 2011 the world of good.
Since then, much as Timo Glock found himself pilloried by Felipe Massa fans for being ludicrously deemed to have deliberately 'gifted' the necessary fifth place to Lewis Hamilton just two corners from the end of the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos – when the truth of the matter was that the Toyota ace was barely keeping his car on the circuit any longer on badly-deteriorating slick tyres on an increasingly damp track surface – so Petrov has felt the wrath of Alonso's irate and disgruntled supporters two years on.
“On my Facebook
page many people cursed me, saying I blocked Alonso – that's nonsense,” he told German newspaper Bild
, dismissing his role as 'kingmaker' for Vettel. “I did nothing wrong – but Ferrari did make a tactical error.
“I kept Alonso behind me for 39 laps, but no-one told me on the radio that I was helping Sebastian to be world champion. In any case, even if he had passed me, he would have also had to pass [Nico] Rosberg. I just drove my own race and I was faster than him.”
Petrov added that he only knew Alonso had been denied the title when the double world champion pulled alongside him on the slowing-down lap and indignantly shook his fist at him, a graceless move that the 26-year-old described as 'bad manners' and 'not elegant'.
As to the man who went on to triumph in both the race and also the tense, three-way world championship showdown, Renault's increasingly impressive rookie offered his congratulations.
“I saw that he (Vettel) wrote on his website to his fans that he was grateful to me, but he deserves it,” he opined. “The newspapers said it was a miracle, but it was his hard work.”