Giedo van der Garde believes Kimi Raikkonen was to blame for the first-lap collision that put the Lotus driver out of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Raikkonen started from the back of the grid after being excluded from qualifying when his car failed the flexible floor test.
The Lotus driver had his nose up the inside of van der Garde’s Caterham at the first corner when he lost grip on the kerb and clipped the Dutchman’s left-rear wheel while correcting a small slide. The resulting suspension damage put Raikkonen out of the race, although van der Garde was able to continue and finish 18th.
“I could see it clearly and it was not my fault at all,” van der Garde said. “I was in the pack and turned in for the first corner and got hit. Maybe he wanted to catch up a bit too much in the beginning but I don’t know exactly.
“I had a big moment and nearly spun but luckily I caught it and was able to continue. At the beginning, it felt a bit strange at the left-rear but after that, everything was fine and we could continue.”
Van der Garde was the best-placed finisher among the Caterham and Marussia drivers and rated it as one of the best races of his career.
“It was a very good weekend, after two did-not-finishes, to have a weekend like this is fantastic and I’ve been very happy with the car and the performance all weekend. Even though I was out of FP1 [replaced by Heikki Kovalainen], I was quicker than my team-mate in all the session, so it was a very good race.”