Sebastian Vettel has expressed his support for Valentino Rossi in the wake of his controversial coming together with Marc Marquez in a dramatic Malaysian MotoGP last weekend, though other opinions amongst F1 drivers have been mixed.
With Rossi and Marquez's remarkable coming together at Sepang making waves across motorsport and beyond, a selection of F1 drivers – many of which have previously expressed themselves as being fans of Rossi - were quizzed on their views of the incident ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix.
In Vettel's eyes, Rossi 'did the right thing' in going up against Marquez and expects him to come back fighting in the final round at Valencia, despite starting from the rear of the grid.
“I think he still has the chance [at the title], he is a fighter and it's in his nature,” the Ferrari driver said. “Even if after the race it sounded like he is giving up, he will be fighting and giving everything he has. I think he did the absolute right thing in Malaysia. I know Jorge as well and Marc a little bit and they are very good guys, but I think Valentino did the right thing.”
Having tweeted a photo in support of Rossi ahead of the MotoGP race, Nico Rosberg – who has this week been the subject of his own controversy following a clash with Lewis Hamilton in the United States -, refused to be drawn on his views, though he maintains he will support the Yamaha rider heading into the finale.
“Would I still tweet that now?, he responded when asked by Crash.net
whether stands by the rider. “As a race driver I have a very good insight into what goes on in your head, but I don't want to comment. The footage doesn't show all of the details and people think this and that. It is not clear what really happened, so of course unfortunate to say the least that Marquez went down. Not good.
Williams' Felipe Massa, meanwhile, has landed on the side of Marquez, saying Rossi's action was a 'big mistake', even if he feels the Italian is still capable of prevailing from the back in Valencia.
“I am a big fan of Valentino, but he made a mistake! I understand that it is creating a big political issue to help him, but looking at it he is waiting for the other one to do the corner and then his feet just move over. He made a mistake.
“It is much easier to start last in the bikes than the cars. They have just four bikes, which is really better than the others, so it is easier for him to arrive. We need to see if Lorenzo will win or not, but I still think he can fight.”
Rossi leads Lorenzo by seven points heading of what is expected to be a dramatic Valencia finale, but will be forced to start from the back of the grid after the three penalty points he acquired for the incident means he has accumulated enough to result in a grid punishment.