Jenson Button was incensed at the time, but has since accepted that Sebastian Vettel had no malicious intent when he squeezed the McLaren driver onto the grass at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Briton made a marginally better start than his world championship rival, but found the Red Bull #1 moving further and further right, eventually closing the lane that could have taken Button into the lead. As the McLaren put its right-hand wheels onto the grass verge, team-mate Lewis Hamilton took advantage of the loss of traction to move into second place, while Button held off Felipe Massa to hold on to third.
Although Button went on to win the race after getting better tyre mileage than Vettel, there was a brief exchange of views as the pair waited to go onto the podium, with the Briton suggesting that 'that's the way we drive now' as Vettel countered with his explanation of events.
"Didn't you see me at the start there?" Button asked.
"Nah, you were behind, weren't you?" Vettel countered.
"Come on! Halfway alongside, I was on the grass," Button returned.
way," Vettel underlined, prompting Button to suggest that the lines had been drawn for future battles.
The German tried to turn attention to Button's deliberately slow approach to the mid-race restart after a safety car, but the pair, along with second-placed Fernando Alonso, were then ushered to the podium ceremony before any more could be exchanged.
Despite Button's victory, and Vettel's clinching of a second straight world title, the incident naturally caught the attention of the media, and the BBC
, for one, would not let Button off without a full review of what happened.
"In that moment in time, I felt he kept coming across," the McLaren man claimed, "I felt I was enough alongside him for me to see me and not push me into the grass [but], at the time, emotions run high and I felt he had no need to do it. I felt like [it was] too much.
"[But] I spoke to Sebastian after the race and he said he didn't see me - and I'm going to take his word because I don't think he's a liar."
The Briton was equally magnanimous when it came to congratulating his rival on the feat of taking back-to-back titles - 'the fact is Sebastian has been phenomenal this year and he totally deserves the title' - but was overjoyed to have claimed victory in a country he holds dear.
"To win at a circuit that has traditionally been Red Bull's stamping ground is phenomenal," he said, "The Red Bull is always so strong on these type of circuits with the change of direction and so, for us, the win here really does mean a lot for us. I don't think I've ever won a race at such a high-speed circuit.