Adrian Sutil has laid the blame for his first lap exit from the United States Grand Prix firmly at the feet of Williams rival Pastor Maldonado, despite television footage suggesting each was at fault.

The pair ran wheel-to-wheel down the long back straight at the Circuit of the Americas but, despite the width of the road available to either side, contrived to lock wheels, with Sutil's Force India spearing left across Maldonado's bows before making heavy front-end contact with the barrier.

"I made a good start, gained a few positions and was racing ahead of Maldonado on the back straight," the German recalled, "For some reason, he hit my left rear wheel and I immediately lost control of the car and crashed into the barriers. I don't really understand why he was so close to me because the track is so wide there. I stayed on my line and there was a lot of space to the right and the left.

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"It was an early finish and a very disappointing day, and it feels like I ran out of luck this weekend. Up until Saturday morning, I was looking competitive and was happy with the car, but all of that promise disappeared with the problems we had in qualifying."

Sutil was more scathing in television interview, referring to his rival's chequered past when it comes to on-track incidents.

"For some reason I got hit on the straight from Maldonado on my left rear tyre and lost control completely," Sutil explained. "He spun me around and I crashed into the barrier, which is a shame because it's a very wide track here and there's no reason to collide on a straight line.

"There was a lot of space on the left and on the right and I don't understand why someone is so close to a car that he actually hits you," he told reporters, "It's not as if we were side-by-side. His front tyre hit my rear axle and, although it was a little touch, at 330km/h you don't want to have those things.

"I lost my race because of that. We've had many incidents with this driver so maybe you just have to have an emergency area around him to avoid these kinds of things."

Maldonado, already outspoken about his relationship with the Williams team over the weekend, had remarkably little to say on the matter, having finished the race a lap down.

"It was a difficult race for me, as the incident with Sutil compromised the strategy," he noted in Williams official media debrief, "We did manage to get 40 laps out of the prime tyres, which was pleasing on a track like this but, overall, we had a difficult weekend and I'm looking forward to a better race in Brazil."

Once again, however, comments made immediately after the race cast a different light on the matter, with Maldonado suggesting that Sutil's peripheral vision may not have been what it should.

"It was quite strange, I didn't expect that contact," he claimed, "We were side-by-side and I was losing out a little bit in terms of speed but I think he didn't see me or thought he was fully ahead. It was my front wing there and we touched. It's normal and it can happen, it's nothing against him. It's very difficult to see when a car is like that and it's happened to me as well in the past. It's nothing really important."

To make matters worse for the Venezuelan, team-mate Valtteri Bottas converted ninth on the grid into eighth place at the chequered flag, leap-frogging him in the standings. The Williams team, however, believed that it could have had a good afternoon with both its cars had it not been for the clash with Sutil.

"It was a good start by both cars, but we quickly saw that Pastor had picked up some front wing damage following the contact with Sutil on the opening lap," Chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar, "We had planned one-stop races for both drivers but, due to the damage, we brought Pastor in much earlier for his switch to the prime tyres.

"With the higher track temperatures, we were being cautious in the early stages to manage the tyres, but the early data gathered from Pastor showed that our pace and consistency was good. Despite finishing P17, he also had a strong drive and, had we not needed to make the early stop, there was potential for both cars to be up in the points. It was a great improvement for us here in Austin and now we aim to continue the momentum to end the season on a high in Brazil."

Sutil's exit combined with a late race slide out of the points for team-mate Paul di Resta, leaving team boss Dr Vijay Mallya a little frustrated.

"Despite the promise we have shown at various points during the weekend, we leave the United States without the results we thought were possible," he claimed, "Our chances took a big hit on lap one with the accident for Adrian, and that put all our hopes onto Paul. We were looking to repeat the strategy we pulled off in Abu Dhabi by stopping only once and, for a while, we thought it was possible, but we couldn't achieve the tyre management we needed and had to pull him in for a late second stop. It was always going to be tough to score points today, but I'm optimistic that Interlagos next week will work more in our favour."

di Resta went on to finish an unrepresentative 15th, boosted one place by the post-race penalty for Jean-Eric Vergne.

"I made a good start and was in reasonable shape for the first stint, but it soon became clear that we were struggling for pace and not really in the zone with the tyres," the Scot confirmed, "We were pushing to do a one-stop race, but the tyre wear was a bit higher than expected and I ran out of tyre performance with nine laps to go.

"It was hard to defend my position, so I had to make a second pit-stop. It's a shame because we were quite optimistic before the race and we thought the warmer weather might play into our hands, but we will pick ourselves up and look to end the season with a better result in Brazil next weekend."