Right from the point where he took charge of Ferrari's F1 effort, Maurizio Arrivabene promised to be as transparent as possible and, after Sebastian Vettel's first lap exit from the Russian Grand Prix, he made no effort to hide his emotions.
Already handicapped by the gearbox change that dropped him from second to seventh on the grid, Vettel was the victim of a double contact through the first two corners, with his assailant being none other than the 'madman' he accused of pulling a risky move into turn one of the Chinese Grand Prix two weeks ago.
On that occasion, Daniil Kvyat made a clean pass on the four-time world champion, but Vettel's avoiding action brought him into contact with Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. In Sochi, however, there was no disguising who was to blame for the incident but what angered Arrivabene more was that the two cars collided on more than one occasion.
“I promised to all of you since the first time I started working here to be transparent and honest and, last time, in China, I was not complaining about Kvyat,” the Italian pointed out, “That time, I said Kvyat had done his job. This time, I can't find any reason for what's happened.”
Kvyat claimed post-race that sudden deceleration by Vettel had caught him out heading into turn three, suggesting that the German may have had a puncture or another mechanical issue, but Arrivabene still refused to believe that the contact was anything but avoidable.
“If you look at the images, it's quite clear,” he fumed, “Sebastian said he touched him one time at the beginning and, then, the second time was quite hard. Of course, if you have a crash like this you slow down but that doesn't mean because [he] slows down that you have to hit him another time! Of course [he slowed], he hit him! What does he have to do, fly? We don't need the telemetry to understand that…”
Vettel's immediate response to the incident, which left him in the wall on the outside of turn three, was played out for television audiences after a brief pause to mask multiple expletives, and Arrivabene confirmed that the German was far from calm by the time he had returned to the garage – having commandeered the moped sent to pick him up.
“He was not happy at all - he was going ballistic, but you understand,” Arrivabene explained, “[We've had] the rare situation where he took a DNF one time [Bahrain] and a second time with something that had nothing to do with him, this is the character of the guy. He's a four-time world champion and he wants to continue to win, so it's understandable. Afterwards, we talked and he was a bit more calm, but of course calm doesn't mean happy.”