Friday, 18 October, 2019

Vettel slams Verstappen for fateful Suzuka tangle

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton yesterday celebrates winning the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit Suzuka Japan Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton yesterday celebrates winning the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit Suzuka Japan
Shannon Reynolds | 07 October, 2018, 21:26

Vettel attempted to overtake Max Verstappen at Spoon corner, which prompted an angry reaction from the Red Bull Driver, which was caught on the team radio.

Ferrari and Vettel have made mistakes in 2018, but for team boss Arrivabene, Suzuka was beyond the pale.

Verstappen went on to finish third regardless, and when told by team principal Christian Horner after the race that he would not be "too popular with Ferrari and the Italians", he jovially replied: "That's not my problem, they were too aggressive". He resumed in 19th place with a damaged vehicle.

Vettel started eighth on the grid and worked his way up to fourth before contact with Verstappen, who had already received a five-second penalty for obstructing Kimi Raikkonen, on lap eight sent him all the way down to 19th. Although Vettel can still match Hamilton's tally of nine race wins this year by winning the season's final four rounds (he now has five victories), the Mercedes driver would still have one more second place to his name (three to two).

Hamilton did not put a wheel out of place all weekend, leading Mercedes to a comfortable 1-2 victory. Although it wasn't penalised by the stewards, his chop across the Sauber must have been as close to the limit as you can get without receiving a time penalty of some sort.

"But the gap was there, his battery was clipping [running out of ERS boost], I was boosting, I saved my battery, I had more speed, I would have made the corner, I was side by side and then he didn't give enough room and then we touched". "I even gave him space but he understeered into my auto", said Verstappen. Verstappen was in third and his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in fourth, with Kimi Raikkonen in fifth.

Ocon was not able to match his team-mate and finished ninth, with Carlos Sainz Jr beating Gasly to the final point after passing him late on.

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Vettel recovered to finish sixth at Suzuka but now trails Lewis Hamilton by a whopping 67 points with four races left this season after his Mercedes rival roared to victory.

After the restart, Vettel was behind Verstappen and he saw an opportunity to pass into Spoon when the Red Bull slowed approaching the corner as the engine went into energy harvesting mode.

"I'm not the one who makes the rules but I think it's a similar scenario to what I had in China with him", said Verstappen.

"And he chose to go around the outside, he could have waited for me to understeer wide".

"I'm not sure it's a mistake with him", said Wolff. "I had one lockup going into the last chicane where Max got a bit closer, but otherwise I was just managing and it was all under control".

"Once we are getting to a certain temperature, we know it's going to happen at some point, so then we're just not pushing to go over those temperatures and trying to manage".

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