Maurizio Arrivabene
Maurizio Arrivabene insists there was no team orders between Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen at the Italian Grand Prix. In this picture, Arrivabene looks on from the pitlane before the Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on Sept. 2, 2018, in Monza, Italy. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene defended Kimi Raikkonen after Sebastian Vettel put some of the blame for his opening lap spin at the Italian Grand Prix on his teammate.

The Finn started the race in pole position with teammate Vettel alongside him on the front row and many believed the latter, who is fighting for the F1 Drivers’ title, will be given preference during the race with Raikkonen expected to make way.

But it was not to be as Raikkonen maintained his position at the front at the start and Vettel, who was desperate to get past his teammate tried to make a move into Turn 4, but his teammate covered the line, which in turn exposed the German to Lewis Hamilton who started the race in third place.

The Briton, who is leading the championship standings, saw the opportunity and went around the outside of Vettel and with both unwilling to give up their positions made contact which resulted in the Ferrari driver damaging his front wing and spinning.

Vettel fell to the back of the field after the opening lap incident, while Hamilton went on to win the race with a late pass on Raikkonen. In the immediate aftermath of the race, the German blamed the British driver for not giving him enough space, but later went on to also place the blame on his teammate for not playing the strategy game and allowing him through without too much of a fuss.

Mercedes have used team orders on more than one occasion already this season, but Ferrari have refused to do so thus far and Arrivabene revealed there was no orders at the Italian Grand Prix as well.

The Ferrari chief backed Raikkonen’s actions on the opening lap and believes Vettel and Hamilton would have done the same to their teammates if the roles were switched. However, the Italian team, who were favorites to win their home race were criticized for throwing away the opportunity by failing to have a proper strategy in place.

“I just instructed them to not do anything stupid,” Arrivabene said ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix this Sunday, as quoted on Planet F1. “It was said that Kimi did something unfavourable to Sebastian, but what should he have done?”

“What he did is exactly what Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel would have done. It is completely wrong to point the finger when there are still so many races to go.

“I answer for the whole team, so it doesn’t matter who made a mistake – the driver or the team. Someone must answer, and this person is me,” the Ferrari chief explained answering criticism towards the team for throwing away their best chance of winning their home Grand Prix.

Ferrari are now 25 points behind Mercedes in the Constructors’ championship and Vettel is 30 points behind Hamilton in the Drivers’ title race. They will have a chance to close the gap at the Singapore Grand Prix – a track that should again favor the red cars.