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Webber slams 'first-lap nutcase'

7 October 2012

Red Bull driver Mark Webber has pulled no punches in his criticism of Romain Grosjean, after the Lotus ruined his race by running into him through the first corner of the 2012 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka.

"I haven't seen what happened at the start but the guys confirmed it was the first-lap nutcase again - Grosjean," said Webber when interviewed after the race by Sky Sports F1's Natalie Pinkham.

Grosjean ran into the back of the Red Bull and tipped it into a half spin, as the field scattered to avoid running into the stricken Ferrari of Fernando Alonso who had spun off on the outside of the right hander. Although Webber was able to get back underway, it left him at the back of the field from where he could only manage to recover to ninth place by the chequered flag.

"The rest of us are trying to fight for some decent results each weekend but he's trying to get to the third corner as fast as he can at every race," Webber told Sky Sports F1. "It makes it frustrating because a few big guys obviously suffered from that today. Maybe he needs another holiday."

By holiday, Webber is suggesting that Grosjean needs another ban, to add to the one-race exclusion he received after causing a first-corner collision at Spa that took out several of the championship contenders.

But in response, Grosjean insisted that ever since the incident at Spa, he'd been driving a lot more carefully and rejected the criticism levelled at him.

"After the ban, I'm very careful at the start," he insisted. "I kept my line and was trying to avoid contact with Sergio Perez. I didn't see the delta speed with Mark. I was just trying to avoid any contact - it didn't work.

"It was a stupid clash," he added.

That did little to pacify Webber, however: "How many mistakes can you make, how many times can you make the same error with first lap incidents?" the Australian fumed. "He needs to have a look at himself, obviously ... It's quite embarrassing at this level for him."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner backed up Webber's remarks, referring to Grosjean's "crazy move" through the first turn as just the latest of seven serious incidents from Grosjean in 14 race appearances in 2012.

"I think the most concerning thing is when it is repeat incidents. If you make mistakes that's fine but the most important thing is to learn from them, said Horner. "He's hosing away points for his team. They're fighting in the constructors' championship - I would be surprised if they were impressed by that."

Someone else unimpressed with Grosjean's driving was Sauber's Sergio Perez: "The race didn't start too well for me either when Romain Grosjean caused a mess and I lost positions," he said.

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg also lashed out Grosjean, although the immediate cause of his own retirement from the race was a hit from Bruno Senna in the aftermath of Alonso and Webber's incidents.

"I got a good start, but Grosjean took out a lot of us again today," he said. "He spun Mark Webber and caused a traffic jam. I had nowhere to go and the [Williams] behind me ruined my tyres. A penalty [for Grosjean] is right - but what sort of penalty is not for me to judge."

During the race, Grosjean was required to serve a ten second stop-go penalty in the pits for causing the collision, the most severe in-race sanction available to the officials to hand out.


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