McLaren driver Jenson Button hit out at “idiot” Kamui Kobayashi after the Sauber man sent the Briton and Nico Rosberg of Germany crashing out at the start of the Korean Grand Prix Sunday.
The Japanese, criticised by other drivers in the past for his recklessness, also had to retire from the race because of the incident that occurred just moments into a grand prix that was won by Sebastian Vettel.
Button’s fine start from lowly 11th was wrecked when Kobayashi came flying down the inside, smashing into the McLaren and destroying its suspension.
“I’ve just been hit by Kobayashi. What an idiot!” Button, the 2009 world champion, exclaimed over the team radio. He later conceded that his championship hopes were over.
He also hit out at the Japanese after the race, saying: “It’s extremely disappointing. This is a long race, with so much opportunity for everyone.
”It’s a great circuit for overtaking, so it’s surprising to see people behaving like that on the first lap.“
Not long after Button retired, Rosberg did the same to his Mercedes because of the same incident. It was the second week in a row that the German has failed to finish a race.
”Unfortunately this has been the second poor weekend in a row for me and it’s very frustrating to be taken out twice in the first corners of the race,“ he said.
”Kobayashi hit me from behind today and that was my race over. The one small positive to be taken from the weekend is our qualifying performance, which was a small step forward.
“Now I’ll look forward to India and hope for a bit more luck there.”
Kobayashi, third last week in his native Japan, was forced into the pits for extensive work on his car that included a new nose.
He was then landed with a drive-through penalty for causing the early carnage, and bowed out soon afterwards when Sauber decided that the damage to his car was too great.
“This is a race to forget,” he said. “Initially I had a good start but then we were four cars side by side approaching turn three. I had Nico to the right and Jenson and Sergio (Perez) on my left hand side.
”Someone hit my rear tyre and then it was impossible to control the car, but I had to brake at some point. I didn’t manage to avoid the accident, and I feel very sorry for ruining someone else’s race, and certainly this was not my intention.
“It was just a very difficult moment and I had nowhere to go but I think it was my mistake.”