Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Sebastian Vettel: Max Verstappen completely to blame for clash

Mika Hakkinen in his MP4/13 Mika Hakkinen in his MP4/13 Credit GETTY IMAGES
Cassandra Gardner | 08 October, 2018, 11:12

Crowning Lewis Hamilton as the Formula 1 champion for 2018 appears to be just a formality.Mercedes' Hamilton won his ninth Grand Prix of the 2018 season, while extending his lead to 67 points in.

Watch the video as Sebastian Vettel collides with Max Verstappen's Red Bull and spins off after trying a move into Spoon.

The 33-year-old Englishman needs only eight further points, and will wrap up his fifth title at the United States Grand Prix in a fortnight's time if he takes the chequered flag in Austin, and Vettel is third or lower. The German blamed his Red Bull rival for that clash, but he knows that securing a world title triumph this year is now largely out of his hands.

"If I don't go for that gap and that gap was there, I might as well go home".

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Japanese Grand Prix on the podium at Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Japan.

Verstappen pushed the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen off the track in an eventful race. "I gave Sebastian space, but he under-steered into my vehicle". Now it is a matter of just when Hamilton closes it out and equals Juan Manuel Fangio's five F1 titles.

When the safety auto went back to the pits, Vettel attacked Verstappen for third but ended up carrying too much speed and made light contact with the Red Bull. Races like this are a bit of a hand-over and we know it is hard from where we are in the point standings, but we don't have much to lose.

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Hamilton has won five of the last six races and is already in a position where he does not need to win again this year to clinch the title.

After Ferrari's error in qualifying which saw Vettel start the race in eighth, he made up to fourth on the first lap before his race-defining attempt to pass Verstappen dropped him down the field.

"Up until the mid-part of the season they were very strong and then we obviously got to Monza and then after that they were still quite strong from Monza, Singapore and then at Singapore was when it really started to tail off".

'I don't even want to think about him breaking a finger.

"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.

Vettel's move smelt of desperation, and it marked his seventh mistake of an increasingly-erratic campaign which has unravelled since the summer break. "But the gap was there - I had more speed, I would have made the corner".

Raikkonen also felt Verstappen was fully to blame for their tangle, which happened when the Red Bull ran off the road at the chicane on the opening lap while third then banged wheels with the Ferrari as it rejoined. "I did long distance running when I was a kid, cross country, and you just run out of stamina to keep hold with those who, for whatever reason, had the stamina at the time".

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