Vandoorne: Räikkönen clash ruined race
9 October 2017 – McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne says a first-lap clash with Ferrari rival Kimi Räikkönen scuppered his hopes of claiming a strong result at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Vandoorne, having taken back-to-back seventh place finishes in Singapore and Malaysia, started from ninth position at Suzuka, but made contact with Räikkönen through the exit of Turn 1/2.
Vandoorne slipped down to 18th place as a result and circulated towards the rear of the pack throughout the remainder of the race, ultimately classifying in 14th position, ahead of only Sauber's Pascal Wehrlein.
"We've had a couple of good races; but it was one to forget, really," said Vandoorne.
"I made a reasonable start, then, as we went into Turn 2, and everyone was trying to find some space, I got hit by Kimi.
"I don't think it was intentional, it was just cars being in the wrong places at the wrong time.
"My afternoon was compromised from that point – I fell to the back, and drove my own race to the flag.
"Suzuka is a very special place, so it's just a shame we couldn't get a good result for all the thousands of fans in the grandstands."
Fernando Alonso started from the back-row of the grid in the other McLaren and came home in 11th position, narrowly missing out on the final point.
"From the very beginning, at the second corner, the two Williams touched in front of me, and made me lose a few positions," said Alonso.
"As a result, we ended up in the secondary group, running a little slower than our true pace, and could not overtake.
"I lost a lot of time, and that really compromised our race.
"A shame, definitely not one of our best races."