Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2018

Vettel: German GP crash “wasn’t a huge mistake”

2018 German Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel says it was only a small mistake which caused his race-ending crash out of the German Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver slid into the barriers at the Motodrom hairpin on the 52nd lap of the race during a rain shower. The furious driver was seen pummelling his steering wheel with his hands afterwards.

“Well I was in the barrier and realised that I don’t get out from there,” he told media afterwards.

“I don’t think it was a huge mistake,” he said. “It was a huge impact on the race because we retired there.

“[But] it’s not like tonight I will have difficulties to fall asleep because of what I have done wrong. It’s disappointing because up to that everything was sweet. But as I said we didn’t need the rain.”

Vettel was running on older tyres than several of his rivals, including eventual winner Lewis Hamilton, when he crashed out. “They weren’t fresh but I guess it was slippery for everyone,” he said.

He apologised to his team for the crash and said the car’s performance showed they should feel confident about their chances in the title fight.

“We have a strong car so I think we can be as confident or more than anybody else. It was a very positive weekend.

“It was just one of those moments, my mistake. Apologies to the team, they did everything right. I had it in my hands, a small mistake, big disappointment.”

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Keith Collantine
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92 comments on “Vettel: German GP crash “wasn’t a huge mistake””

  1. As Bob Ross would say: “We don’t make mistakes, we have happy little accidents.”

  2. At least he is not accusing others of foul play.

    1. He wasn’t as #Blessed today to get spun.

    2. Yeah, he should accuse the wall of not getting out of the way, right?

    3. Some low quality bait right there. Another race, another Ferrari crash…

  3. It sounds like an inane thing to say, but he is actually right. He basically was already at a halt when the car hit the barrier. In a bigger run-off area he would’ve probably gotten away with it and could’ve gone on to finish the race, even if behind the Mercedes cars and Kimi.

    At least he is trying to not let this get him down, even though it could be a back-breaker. It will be interesting to see his response next week.

    1. +1, it was such a tiny slide but with huge consequences.

      Had he spun rather than correcting he might have had a chance if he didn’t get beached. Easy to speculate with hindsight but it doesn’t matter, I think this was just really unfortunate

      1. Yeah I thought it was odd he didn’t even seem to try to turn the car but seemed to head straight for the wall.

        Had he turned it then likely would have spun but surely risk beaching than hitting a barrier?

        1. it wouldn’t really do much, he was pretty much aquaplaning

    2. Strontium
      I agree with his been so philosophical about his mistake, and I suspect the fact that he has such a fast car and power unit combination helps to ease the pain. He knows if they qualify and race as they have for the last 4 races, they will win both championships, all things been equal.

    3. If the rumours of no more F1 here then they won’t need to put down a hard surface instead of the gravel trap, with the barrier further from the track.

  4. TBH, it’s great that he managed to keep going THAT long, because his car appears to have been really unstable after his first stop.

    1. Total nonsense.

  5. Neil (@neilosjames)
    22nd July 2018, 16:28

    Probably the worst place on the circuit to make that sort of error.

    Would have quite liked Vettel to win his home race but it’s good for the championship, as I think the Ferrari is a marginally better car at the moment, and more capable of closing down a points deficit.

    1. Hard to say if Ferrari has a better car, especially in race trim. This race HAM was faster than anybody else no matter the tyres used.

      1. Unless SV was not pushing it.

      2. Neil (@neilosjames)
        22nd July 2018, 22:37

        Yeah, it’s very close for raw speed – varies from race-to-race, but I lean towards the Ferrari as it’s more ‘versatile’ and (never thought I’d say this) I get the feeling they’ve pulled a small advantage on the PU side.

  6. Vettel keeps on doing massive amount of mistakes per season. How I wish Alonso was in that red car despite his major personality flaws…

    1. Proud_Asturian
      22nd July 2018, 16:34

      ah yes.

      like that other damp race in belgium in 2010

      he won that, didn’t he.

      oh no, wait. he stuck it in the barriers and made a far bigger mistake.

      get real. alonso would do a far worse job.

      1. Alonso would smash Vettel’s efforts 110%

      2. You had to go back 8 years to find a mistake by Alonso?
        I think that is a pretty good track record.

      3. Difference is: Alonso retired from 8th, Vettel retired from the lead. Moreover, do you remember Vettel finishing 15th in the same race after about 3 clashes with other drivers.

    2. If alonso was in the Ferrari this would be an rpic championship fight because neither hamilton or alonso would make stupid mistakes

    3. Looking at the bad luck Mercedes and Hamilton have had in the last 3 weekends, Vettel should have really raked in a lot of points. He’s had the better car this year and better luck, yet he’s trailing Lewis by 17 points in the WDC.

      Alonso would have been leading this championship by a healthy margin if he was driving that red car. Bit of a shame that Ferrari finally have a car worthy of winning the championship but not the driver.

      1. Proud_Asturian
        22nd July 2018, 17:10


        Alonso fans don’t live in the real world.

        1. Proud_Asturian
          The what if’s of Alonso career, would fill several bookshelves. The words choice, and Briatorre, come to mind.

      2. If Schumi was able to race today, he would have won very easily in that Ferrari… But it was Vettel who was racing, sorry to burst fan bubbles… If it was like yesterday, ham botched that win, he would be called for being silly amateur rookie in the top car… today, he is called just lucky for the win and win attributed to team orders… LOL, seriously guys… how big is this Hamilton hate… i think 2-3 races maybe more before the end of the season, Ham win his 5th WDC, and everyone will call it undeserved…

        1. @mysticus

          everyone will call it undeserved…

          Wouldn’t have been different from 2013. And I doubt 2004 was different either (though commenting on the interweb thingy wasn’t as popular then).

        2. @mysticus Well I don’t think it is hate for Hamilton. Ferrari genuinely has the fastest car. Plus already for most of last season.

          I don’t think it’s that far out to suggest that Alonso, Verstappen or Ricciardo would have taken the title in that Ferrari last year and/or would be well in the lead this year.

          1. @patrickl

            I read a lot of hate (bashing) comments yesterday, that ham didnt know how to drive the car, and damaged it despite team and what not… like these drivers forget to drive over night… if he wins, he is lucky… if he loose, he is lousy and partying too much…

            Ferrari has a great car that can do Quali runs, and runs reliable in specific race conditions too but Mercedes still has the upper hand… one thing Ferrari lacks is stability with their top driver… he buckles up under pressure and throws away easy wins… Ferrari also has been very lucky past few races too… But in the long run, I believe Ham/Merc will come on top… But we will see Vettel bursts coming soon if he looses 1-2 more races…

          2. @mysticus Completely agree. Even if he didn;t meant it exactly the way it came out, Verstappen was utterly right when he said people should ask Vettel why he makes so many mistakes.

            To be honest Mercedes/Hamilton were also showing cracks a little from being on the back foot. Perhaps Hamilton did just overdrive the car a bit more trying to keep up with a faster Ferrari.

            Also agree that it’s probably more that Ferrari are better in Q3 now. They seem to have a better party mode than Mercedes. Or perhaps they just allocate their engine mode room more towards Q3. On Friday they are always a lot slower. Probably also to save the engine some more for that extra boost in Q3.

          3. @patrickl
            they definitely have a good car no doubt, but like u said, they take their time to fine tune it until the last sec, and trying not to show how fast they can go until very last moment, due to maybe scared merc could turn their knobs a notch? anyways, we will see how reliable the top two cars are soon enough (i think because Ferrari are overdriving their cars lately)… we know how good renault and honda are :)

        3. Yes, I have no doubt a schumacher the age of vettel today would’ve won this race, he combined features of both vettel and hamilton, like the consistency in performance vettel has (much more often extracts the top speed compared to hamilton) and was in general less mistake prone than vettel and had the wet weather flair of hamilton or verstappen; vettel is lacking in that too, a shame, was going very well for a home race win till rain came, I am one who really likes wet races but if THIS is the kind of rain we’re gonna get I’d prefer dry races. I’d like stuff like brazil 2016, with less interruptions from safety cars or red flags (which vettel asked for!).

    4. Personally, despite his mistakes so far this year, I see Vettel as a serious rival that is still favourite for the championship at this stage. He’s conducted his interviews extremely well after his disappointing races (be it the team or himself that’s at fault)

  7. Except in terms of the championship.
    Although we saw other drivers (Verstappen and Hamilton, eg) doing the same just into turn 6 with runoff. Same mistake, but you do it into gravel and that’s race over.

  8. I wonder if there is a bit of a case for Vettel being a bit of a bottlejob. I’m not saying he is one, but there is evidence to suggest that he does make mistakes under pressure (or at least more so than you would expect an elite driver at the top of his game to make). Singapore 2017 is a slightly obvious one, where it was his and Ferrari’s best chance of getting a win for the rest of the year, and he panicked slightly when he got a bad start and the rest is history. Brazil 2012 as well, where he did eventually win the title, but not before he got a terrible start and got boxed into turn 1, and then was partially to blame for the Bruno Senna incident (he braked really early and nearly had Raikkonen clatter into the back of him). Azerbaijan 2018 was also one where he made an error when trying to pass for the lead. There are also less important examples, but even Canada 2011, Australia 2016, Turkey 2010 etc.

    1. 100% correct. SeeBashem is a flawed driver.

      1. Proud_Asturian
        22nd July 2018, 17:11

        Yeah! Yeah! Your crappy nickname is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo original and funny.

        1. toooooooooo many o’s

      2. Schuey he is not…

    2. It’s a bit of an unfair comment.
      Webber boxed him in Brazil 2012, I don’t see how it is Vettel’s fault. You argue that he got a terrible start, but really it was just sub par. Anyway, everyone has a bad start once in a while. But after that he had a crazy and managed to win the championship with a seriously damaged car, the radio not working and the wrong strategy call.
      He was leading Australia 2016 until the red flag and a wrong strategy call from Ferrari. The only thing I can remember from that race is that he ran wide in one corner at one point while trying to catch up, losing a few seconds but no positions. Hardly a mistake worth noting.

      Vettel is at times a bit more erratic, but hasn’t had a weekend where he was off the pace in the last few years, except maybe Silverstone 2017. On the contrary, Hamilton sometimes has weak weekends, but he usually brings the car home without risking too much.
      At the end of the season we are going to see which approach is more succesful.

  9. It was a huge impact on the race because we retired there

    Not sure what I find most weird in this phrase, use of the ‘we’ or use of the verb ‘retired.’
    Anyhow, always good to see a driver being magnanimous with himself.

    1. @david-br I think you’re over-analysing it

      1. @strontium Not really an analysis, just pointing out the difference to, for example, Seb saying ‘it was a huge impact on the race because I crashed there.’ These self-inflected DNFs never seem to be an issue for him, not necessarily a criticism, just the way he seems to deal with it. However they are a pattern.

        1. @david-br you are cherry picking here. He also said:

          I was in the barrier and realised that I don’t get out from there

          Besides which, crashing is not always synonymous with retiring

        2. @david-br

          i guarantee you that if the words belong to LH, people would be analyzing every I-s and T-s! and find atrocious meanins in them from gangsta culture… that he was surely accusing someone and not meaning a single word of it…

          But thanx that it was Vettel, and it was nothing as usual… move on…

  10. I many times wrote it here and sorry to write it again. Neither Vettel nor Kimi are not in the top class drives group. Ferrari can not win any championship without a domminat car, which is not a case this year. Ferrari F1 management team made of fools that they stil did not sign a contract with Ricardo. I would replace both drivers with Ricardo & the young French form Sauber.

  11. This is so weird. This season is the calmest I’ve ever seen of Vettel and yet he’s made many mistakes. Enough to cost him the championship.

  12. Looking at the onboard was like watching a disaster in slow motion. Nothing dramatic like the snap of Kimi in Spa 2008. More like China 2007 with Hamilton. A slow slow slide into the gravel and suddenly nowhere to go after that.

    1. That’s a good comparison @sumedh, have to agree; must be terrible for a driver to sit there and see it go, not being able to do anything.

      1. Seb’s reaction was pure heartbreak. My heart dropped and Im not a Seb fan. When they played his radio I swear he was crying before he hit the barrier.

  13. Proud_Asturian
    22nd July 2018, 16:40

    well, it’s a good job your opinion means nothing.

    1. Papo Chicharra (@)
      22nd July 2018, 23:30

      …and you think your does, correct? gallego, trata un supositorio.

  14. SeeBashem true to form! Tiny bit of pressure & he yet again, over reacted. He had ample time in hand to ease off way more than he did. Yet again his flawed temperament cost him massively.

    Also true to his ill tempered form. Here we are very close to mid season & he screw it all up again!

    1. Wasn’t huge says SeeBashem?
      Well sunshine!
      HUGE enough to lose the race.
      Lose the driver’s championship.
      Hand the Constructor’s championship to Mercedes on a plate.

      OK the we’ll just classify this as a “little slip” then?? !!

      1. How old are you?

        1. @hugh11 My first thought, before I saw your comment!

  15. It was the slightest of snaps, and he reacted very quickly as expected, but in hindsight, maybe he would’ve kept going had he let the car spin?

    1. @fer-no65 Maybe yes, if the car hadn’t got beached. It really was an unfortunate mistake, in the worst place of the track possible. Had he done that in the first corner like Hamilton yesterday the consequences would have been none. He just was at the worst place possible for it to happen, really. Hopefully he can recover as soon as next week.

    2. @fer-no65 I don’t think so, in a situation like that it was an instinctive reflex to try and catch the car, slide was unlucky.

  16. ”Embarrassing, very embarrassing.”

  17. Carbon_fibre
    There’s still a long way to go, so I would not write him off yet. Still his mistakes just like last year, are coming at the worst time of the season though.

  18. Vettel was crying in his car LMAO T_T

    1. I am fairly confident that you would’ve done the same thing given similar circumstances. But you’ll never be at the top of anything to make the comparison so I guess you don’t even matter?

  19. Sergey Martyn
    22nd July 2018, 17:28

    Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory! Though the mistake was as Mr. Bean has once said “a microscopic one”.

  20. Today was a huge disappointment for all the tifosi. I’m afraid the (driver’s) championship is now over and it’s not about the small points difference.
    If it wasn’t yet clear after the ‘small misfortune’ in Singapore last year, Vettel today once again proved to himself, his mechanics, his arch rival and to all tifosi that he’s not good enough to win a championship with equal material… unless Ferrari manages to make a car that is 3 tenths faster than the competition Vettel will keep cracking under pressure, again and again and again… It’s ok for drivers like Grossjean and Eriksson to make a few mistakes mistakes per year but they do not drive fin a championship winning car and their teammate doesn’t get sacrificed to help them win… Ferrari has the best car this year and they should be wise to raise Kimi’s morale but letting him win a race so they can really fight for the constructors championship – the driver’s title is to Hamilton’s anyhow, he has Sebastian in his pocket.

  21. Ferrari should swap Vettel out for Leclerc. He crashes in the dry, hits other cars and crashes in the wet. Very poor.

    1. I was kind of disappointed in Leclerc today, didn’t really show that instinctive talent in wet weather.

      1. I’m sure he’s talented but Ferrari may be making a big mistake if they sign him.
        Ricciardo is there for the taking…they need to sign him.

        1. I agree, Ricciardo would be the best choice right now.

        2. Vettel doens’t want Ricciardo there.
          For lack of options, he is staying with Red Bull.

          1. I would agree. For me Ferrari’s dilemma is finding a drive who is better than Kimi but willing to be a number 2 driver to Seb. Riccardo is not going to do that. One could argue the Leclerc’s youthful ambition will prevent him from agreeing to me a number 2 driver.

          2. Vettel has no say in the matter. His last contract stated as much.
            He has failed repeatedly…they need to bring in RIC.

        3. +1 to Ricciardo. Doesnt matter what Vettel thinks because Ricciardo is a better driver than Vettel.

  22. Leclerc is still an unknown, Ferrari should have already signed with Ricardo but it is not strange for morons in Ferrari to think that Vettel & Kimi will be enough for anything.

  23. Mark in Florida
    22nd July 2018, 21:36

    Yes Seb, it was a huge mistake, a huge one. You are no Michael Schumacher the rainmeister. If everything is not perfect conditions you find a way to screw up. Surely Ferrari can do better than you and Kimi. Ferrari needs to revamp this week line up. One driver is a nervous nelly the other almost over the hill. Vettle just doesn’t have it be is not the complete package Ferrari thought he was. Vettle finds a way to throw away the championship, it’s shocking really. It shows how dominate the Red Bull Renault car was. Mercedes made a joke out of the other teams, passing and passing cars like they had their parking brake on. F1 is in real trouble when it’s so easy for someone to come from 14 position and win a race. It makes a mockery of the pinnacle of motorsport.

    1. I wonder if this was precipitated by him losing an end plate, which would come in handy in the rain. We didn’t see what caused that on sky/ESPN. We saw it fly off but not what would have broken it.

      1. I got the impression, it just broke. Eh

      2. True, based on what happened to verstappen in the final part of spain without part of the front wing, I said vettel would’ve likely had no problems due to it, but given the rain and given he went out, who knows.

  24. Johan Tolemans
    22nd July 2018, 22:00

    Death by a thousand cuts.
    Vettel keeps piling up the mistakes while Kimi, while no longer as quick as his younger self, keeps being given the second car and asked to hand over position to his teammate – yet keeps finishing on the podium.
    Give Raikonnen car #1. Or Ocon. Or Leclerc. Or about 10 others and they’d likely make less mistakes. Cut your losses Ferrari.

  25. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    23rd July 2018, 1:00

    Well, it was a 38 point swing in the championship so the implications are huge for Vettel. He could have been 21 points ahead and now he’s 17 points behind. How quickly things can change in F1!

    1. Yes, which puts something I found silly into perspective: in the past races, people were talking about the 8 points margin vettel had or the 20 points ferrari had like they were anything relevant, but if you look at last year, a relatively challenging year for mercedes, vettel was 46 points behind in the end, 6 times more than the margin he had before this race and ferrari I don’t remember exactly but I’d hazard they were 5 times further behind than they were ahead before this race, so basically, 1 retirement, even due to a mechanical problem and it’s all gone, being ahead or behind by 8 and 20 points right now is irrelevant, you need much more to have an edge, else it’s like starting from 0, those 8 and 20 points are unlikely to make a difference in the end.

      1. @esploratore Last season Vettel was 25 points up at some point. Even almost mid way through he was still 20 points up. It all started to unravel in Silverstone and then Singapore was where he really threw it away.

        Still obviously it’s better to be some points ahead. Especially for someone prone to crack under pressure.

  26. Ferrari has the car to beat Mercedes.
    But……Does Ferrari have the pilot to beat Mercedes ?

  27. I told my boss the same thing today and he is not amused.

  28. The championship might be decided by this race, just like Singapore last year.

  29. Everything was fine. Race strange. The weather unpredictable. FIA again siding Merzedes. Merzedes Assistance Agency.
    It is easy to make mistake when you are leading the race and dreaming win at your home. Qualifications perfect.

    FIA could not assist Lewis to push the car but they will definitely find their way to push him when he abruptly loses direction.

    But, for Kimi, his the ONLY marketing feagure has always been Vettel personally, in Ferrari. Otherwise, Kimi would have been out from Ferrari long time ago.
    Seb, Head up and winning is on your side.

  30. last time I checked, this was F1, the sport where a little mistake can get you hurt, and obviously out of the race. I think we are a little bit too get used to the tarmac runoffs.

  31. It was sabotage…

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