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Vettel penalised and fined for Kubica collision 29 Mar 2009

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB5.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 29 March 2009 Late drama as Vettel and Kubica, running 2nd and 3rd, collide

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has been handed a 10-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix following an incident in Sunday’s Australian race. Vettel collided with BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica during the latter stages in Melbourne as the Polish driver attempted to overtake him.

Following a post-race investigation, stewards decided to penalise the young German for 'causing a collision and forcing a driver off the track’. He had been racing in second, behind eventual race victor Jenson Button, with Kubica running a close third.

“We were in second and a strong position, but then, a couple of laps from the end, I had a stupid racing accident with Robert,” explained Vettel. “At the time I turned in I was ahead, but I couldn't keep up speed in the corner and Robert was on a harder tyre, so was much quicker. At the time we collided he was in front, but I had no where to go, I couldn't stop the car, or turn to the right and my tyres were gone.

“Maybe I should have said let him go and bring third back home, but that's life. I tried to defend and, up to the mid-corner, I had reason, but then I had no grip to avoid a collision. I'm sorry to the team and also to Robert, as it didn't just mean the end of my race, but also his.”

Both Vettel's and Kubica's cars sustained substantial front-end damage in the collision. But while the BMW Sauber driver spun off and hit a wall soon after, Vettel continued to drive his stricken RB5 with its left front wheel hanging off as the safety car emerged following the incident.

As a result the stewards have additionally fined him - and Red Bull Racing - US$50,000 for continuing to drive a damaged car.