The race was all but over and Max Verstappen had taken the chequered flag to win when a yellow flag alert in sector two of the Red Bull Ring was issued.
It transpired Raikkonen and Vettel had spun into the gravel after making contact while squabbling over 12th position and trying to challenge George Russell for 11th, with the Aston Martin attempting to overtake the Alfa Romeo on the inside.
Just as he was about to complete the move, Vettel’s left rear wheel became tangled with Raikkonen’s front right and they ended up spinning into the gravel and onto the grass.
The stewards conducted an investigation and decided Raikkonen had been to blame, imposing a retrospective drive-through penalty by adding 20 seconds to his race time and adding two penalty points to his superlicence.
The punishment had no material impact on the race result as Raikkonen and Vettel had been classified 16th and 17th respectively before the action was taken.
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) July 4, 2021
The stewards’ report concluded that: “Exiting Turn 5, Raikkonen closed the door on Vettel, which caused a collision taking both cars off the track.”
Neither of the two former Ferrari team-mates had been keen to elaborate too much on the incident afterwards in the media pen.
Vettel said merely: “I don’t know, I think it was a misunderstanding, so I’ll have a look and speak to him.”
Raikkonen offered little more, his take being: “I have to see it. He turned left and off we went. But I need to see.”
Moments earlier, there had been a typically irate Raikkonen radio message when he was told by his Alfa Romeo race engineer he had received a warning for exceeding track limits at Turn 10 – by which time it was too late for him to do anything about it.
“Why the **** did you tell me now?” yelled the 2007 World Champion. “If you don’t tell me, how the **** should I know?”
After the race, the 41-year-old Finn added: “Obviously it’s not ideal when you tell me I’ve already had a warning, but I don’t know.
“I mean, obviously the car behaved pretty well and we were just a little bit too slow. We caught up again but not an ideal ending. In the end it didn’t really change [anything], we were out of the points.”
Vettel was none too effusive about his own afternoon, saying of his race pace: “It felt okay but I think it wasn’t there throughout the whole race, so we need to have a look.
“The race felt okay but we didn’t get any points, so obviously a bit disappointing.”