Max Verstappen suspects Kimi Raikkonen simply did not expect him to be on his inside as the pair clashed on the opening lap of Formula 1’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Having made a slow start from fifth on the grid, Verstappen found himself under attack from both Raikkonen and Racing Point driver Sergio Perez on the run to La Source.

In his attempts not to lose ground, Verstappen braked late and dived down the inside of Turn 1 but made contact with Raikkonen at the apex of the corner, sending the Finn’s Alfa Romeo car airborne.

Verstappen tried to continue but a broken track rod on his RB15 sent him spearing off into the barriers on the climb up Eau Rouge as his 21-race run of consecutive top five finishes came to an end.

“I had a poor start, I don’t really know why but we’ll look into that,” Verstappen said.

“From there onwards, I just braked maybe a little bit later than the two cars ahead of me but for me it was all working quite well.

“I guess Kimi just didn’t expect me to be there so he just did his normal line and we touched.

“The track rod was broken after that, so that’s why I went straight on at Eau Rouge.”

Raikkonen made multiple trips to the pit lane and could only finish a lap down in 16th after picking up significant damage.

Speaking about the incident, he added: “We got a decent start and went to the inside then had to slow down a lot with the Mercedes slowing down and making a tight corner.

“I thought I was fine but suddenly I was on two wheels and that was it. I don’t know what happened, haven’t seen anything.

“I think it’s the issue always that the tight corners sometimes you have to slow down and everyone behind has to react. Honestly I haven’t seen it.

“It’s a shame, we got a lot of damage, we tried to do the race and hope for some weird thing to happen.

“The floor is damaged and there’s a lot of points we lost, 20 odd or something, but we still kept trying.”

 

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