Max Verstappen accepts blame for Sebastian Vettel China collision
|By Jonathan Noble||Sunday, April 15th 2018, 08:48 GMT|
Max Verstappen has accepted full blame for his Chinese Grand Prix clash with Formula 1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
Verstappen was pushing through the field after Red Bull had pitted both its drivers for fresh soft tyres during a mid-race safety car, a strategy that his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo converted to victory.
Having lost ground going off the road in an initial tussle with Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen was fighting Vettel for third place when he pitched both into a spin with a late move at the hairpin.
The FIA stewards gave Verstappen a 10-second time penalty that dropped him from fourth to fifth in the final results.
Verstappen confessed he had got it wrong.
"I could see he was struggling on the tyres and tried to brake late in the corners," he said.
"I locked the rears and hit him. It was of course my fault. Not what I want.
"It is easy to say after that I should have waited, and that probably would have been the best idea, but unfortunately it happened."
The collision was the latest in a spate of incidents for Verstappen in the first three races of the 2018 F1 season.
Pushed by Sky Sports F1 on whether he needed to be less aggressive, Verstappen replied: "It is easy to comment. At the moment it is not going the way I like of course, but does it mean I have to calm down? I don't think so.
"It is very unfortunate those things happening and I need to analyse everything and try to come back stronger for the next races."
Vettel had led the race's first stint before losing out to Valtteri Bottas in the pitstop sequence.
He finished only eighth having been passed by Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso as he struggled after the Verstappen collision.
Vettel spoke to Verstappen in the post-race parc ferme to make clear his unhappiness at the incident.
"I didn't see him until very late," said Vettel, who retains an 11-point championship lead over Hamilton.
"I left a little bit of room as well. To be honest I was expecting him to come earlier.
"I had no intention to resist him because I saw with Daniel as well there was no point in doing so. They were just too fast on the fresh tyres.
"So I didn't want to compromise my race to the guys behind. But he made a mistake, he locked up, which happens. I guess he misjudged and sort of compromised both our results."
Asked whether he felt Verstappen needed to calm down, Vettel replied: "He has done enough races, but this can happen also if you have done 300 races.
"You mustn't forget that inside the car the judgements are very difficult to make but you have to ultimately have these things in mind and make sure you don't crash.
"He could easily have taken his front wing off or have a puncture. So we were both lucky."