Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Monza, 2018

Vettel says Hamilton didn’t leave him space in first-lap clash

2018 Italian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel accused championship rival Lewis Hamilton of failing to leave him room when the pair clashed at the start of the Italian Grand Prix.

Vettel spun to the tail of the field after the pair made contact at the Variante della Roggia on the first lap.

“I tried to pass Kimi then he opened the brakes and I didn’t really have a gap and I didn’t want to try something silly,” he explained. “So I got out of it.

“I think Lewis obviously saw a little bit around the outside. But then he didn’t leave me any space and I had no other chance than run into him and make contact.

“I tried to obviously get out from there but I couldn’t. Unfortunately I was the one that spun around which is a bit ironic but was that way.

“Then you are looking the wrong way and things are not looking too peachy. But from there I think we drove well and tried to recover. We got a lot of points so it could be a lot worse today.”

The stewards took no action over the incident, ruling “neither driver was wholly or predominantly at fault.”

Vettel has fallen 30 points behind Hamilton in the championship fight but said he’s “not too worried” about the championship situation. “I think if he have this pace, the points sound a lot, but actually it doesn’t take a long time to get that down.”

“Obviously it doesn’t help when you lose points,” he added. “But it’s not the end of the world. I think we all still wake up tomorrow morning.

“For sure [I’m] down at the moment, mostly for the people. But I think their support has been incredible. Unfortunately we didn’t deliver, but then what can you do. If you get spun around there’s not much you can do from there.

“Obviously it could have been a good race but it wasn’t. It was still very entertaining, probably more entertaining that way. But not as satisfying.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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101 comments on “Vettel says Hamilton didn’t leave him space in first-lap clash”

  1. It might not have mattered. Mercedes were the better team by a country mile.

    1. That could very well be the case, but for Vettel personally it would have been the difference between P4 and P2, i.e. a 30-point difference or a 24-point difference.

      1. Not sure. I think Ferrari would have gotten this one had he not attempted the dive bomb at turn 4. Because the attempt gave Lewis room to send it down the outside. If he remained behind Kimi, probably one of them would be now crowd surfing at the start/finish straight.

        1. Quite likely @krichelle, then HAM would still have to pass both, and the Bottas bottle stopper action wouldn’t have been possible that way either, with one extra Ferrari at the front.

      2. @klon – If Vettel were P2, Hamilton would be P3 i.e. only a 14 point deficit not 24!

        1. Not likely. HAM had the pace to win. He was within 1 second of RAI for lap after lap and his tires were still in far better shape. Even with another Ferrari there, its highly likely he still wouldve gotten ahead of at least one of them and been P2 at worst.

  2. 🙄🤔🙄

  3. Utter nonsense from Vettel. Ham clearly left him room.

    How can Vet expect to be taken seriously with comments like these?!

    1. Taken seriously? How can any race fan really take the guy seriously after his hissy fit behind the safety car last year?

      1. Remember Mexico 2016?

    2. @jb784

      look at the beginning of the video, at 14s stop the video.
      That is not much space at all, is it? Not that absurd, what Seb said.

      1. @magon4

        Thanks for sharing the vid.
        I agree; there isn’t much space.
        That’s because there were two cars going through side-by-side.
        But there was enough room; Vettel just tried to take the same line as Kimi who went through on his own.

        Vettel carried too much speed on the inside. As Ham said afterwards, Vettel should have moved to the outside to cover the corner off but got too greedy trying to take Rai and left the door open for Ham.

        1. @jb784 I agree with that. He got greedy and paid the price.

          So I don’t blame Lewis, at the same time I agree that there really wasn’t enough space. It starts when they turn into the corner, they are both on the right side, and the turning in by Lewis is pretty aggressive. That could have gone wrong for the brit, as well. It was a little bit unnecessary, is all. But kudos for him making it stick.

          About the greedy thing, I do believe in terms of the championship I get why Seb hoped Kimi would let him through, as he was slightly ahead into the first corner. Then he tried to do it into the next shicane, where once again Kimi basically said no, leaving Seb with few options. He could and should have been more patient there, but I do understand the move.

        2. If Vettel followed the same line as Raikkonen there would have been enough room for them both to get through with Vettel losing the one place not 15. Vettel was either carrying too much speed into the cornqer or wasn’t turning enough and hoping to take Lewis out instead.

  4. another classic from the “i didnt do it” boy

    1. He wouldn’t be finger boy if he wasn’t pointing his finger at someone else

      1. His ego is massive, he’d sooner crash and point the finger than concede the corner.

        1. Every single champion has a massive ego. Seb has a bit more massive one though.

          1. True, but Hamilton knows when to concede and minimize his deficit

          2. @mbr-9 Indeed, you could say Lewis economising the Merc at Spa, after realising the chase was highly unlikelly to bring a better result, which allowed him the extra boost time for his hounding of Kimi.


          look at the beginning at stop the video at 14s.

          Not that much space there, right?

          Hamilton wasn’t wrong to do what he did, far from it. But it was risky, and he could have spun, too. And as was with Seb in Singapore, one could accuse him of risking too much. He did get away with it, but he might not have. And Seb didn’t really have anywhere to go, at that moment.

  5. I thought it was more an error on Vettel’s part than anything else, Hamilton couldn’t have done a lot differently. He had room, just didn’t make proper use of it.

  6. Hamilton did accuse Ferrari of deliberately crashing into their cars at Paul Ricard and Silverstone, so I suppose two can play at that game.

    1. This is the improved version. “I crashed into him, but it’s his fault as he shouldn’t be there”.

      1. That didn’t happen.
        And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.
        And if it was, that’s not a big deal.
        And if it is, that’s not my fault.
        And if it was, I didn’t mean it.
        And if I did, you deserved it.

        — Every top tier sportsman in every sport there has ever been.

        1. Alex McFarlane
          2nd September 2018, 18:25


        2. Applause!!!

      2. Alex McFarlane
        2nd September 2018, 18:45

        How about: “I saw him and crashed into him but I was expecting a UFO to tractor beam Lewis to the back of the pack, 10 laps down.”

    2. But Vettel is the one crashed into Hamilton not the other way around? If vettel thought a car on the side of the track needs to give space to car next which has more than 2 cars space, needs his eyes and brain checked. He did the same rubbish move 2017 Mexico and Hamilton came worse! He makes silly mistakes unforced and yet able to blame other parties…

      I guess he needs a lot to “talk after” this race!

      1. @mysticus – Oh yeah, it was 100% Vettel’s fault, not going to dispute that. It’s more playing mind games by saying things that are contentious in an attempt to ruffle the rival’s feathers… probably should have explained that a bit better before.

        1. But Hamilton accused Vettel/Ferrari due to Vettel/Ferrari (RAI) crashed into Ham unforced ways. And multiple times it happened and Hamilton came worse of 3 times at least. This time Vettel crashed into Hamilton again and he blamed Hamilton again! Like in Baku? Instead of “talk after” watching his own driving, he tends to blame rapidly. Always acts like oil floating on top of water… Always blameless

          1. @mysticus – Baku last year – yes, Vettel did initially blame Hamilton for it but then backtracked on it, but I’m talking about this year’s incidents.

            In France, it was Vettel colliding with Bottas and Vettel more or less accepted the blame. In Silverstone, Raikkonen collided with Hamilton and completely accepted the blame. But Hamilton then responded to both collisions by suggesting that the Ferraris did it on purpose, when it clearly wasn’t the case. Here, Vettel is suggesting that Hamilton didn’t leave him space, when it is also clearly not the case. Why would he say that? For the same reason Hamilton suggested that the Ferraris have been deliberately shunting into Mercedes cars. It’s all mind games.

            (P.S – Hamilton did eventually backtrack on his ‘interesting tactics’ comment).

      2. @mysticus @brickles I would really advise you guys to have another look at the footage. Again, not saying Lewis did anything wrong, but from the images (at the beginning and at 14s, stop the video there) one can see that car number 44 did squeeze the Ferrari quite a bit, and at that point car number 5 couldn’t really back off besides having to deal with the lack of downforce caused by car number 7 ahead.

        Racing incident. Avoidable by both, but in the corner itself, mostly by Lewis. Actually he was pretty lucky not to spin there, and if he had, we would probably be looking at the incident itself a little more balanced. (the video)

        1. @magon4 – I’ve seen the incident enough times to formulate an opinion that Lewis left Sebastian enough space but perhaps because of a loss of downforce, Sebastian was the one who understeered into him, so he’s more to blame in my view

          1. Fair enough

    3. @brickles Fat lot of use it does Vettel to convince himself he didn’t make a mistake that cost Ferrari the race.

  7. 100% Vettel’s fault. Another error from him this season due to taking unnecessary risks despite the Championship battle.

  8. I really lol’ed at this one. Seb had plenty of room, otherwise they’d have touched on the left hand corner apex and not on the road between both kinks. He drifted to the outside, it was game over after that. 100% on Seb this one!

    1. come on, plenty of room? really? just have a look at the footage again…

  9. Vettel vs Vers ? Not much difference both give no space yet complain to the contrary when they come out worse off!

    Vettel destroyed Ham’s/Merc race a few times himself… as he said before what goes around comes around… Karma just bit him where it hurt…

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      2nd September 2018, 16:52

      Exactly! I’ve been saying it for a long time now.

      Vettel and Verstappen might be the worst wheel to wheel drivers in F1. They could give Maldonado a run for his money.

      Look at Kimi and Lewis today. Kimi and Lewis are much better wheel to wheel racers – the difference is day and night.

  10. Cmon Better as Nico said it was 110% your fault. How can you say Lewis didn’t give you enuff room. You are lucky you didn’t get a penalty and was considered a racing incident. You have made too many mistakes. Hamilton had won races he shouldn’t have based on your errors and bring mighty in the wet. Overall Ferrari has a better package. The difference has Ben Lewis and teamwork / strategy from Mercedes. I really like Kim but he seems to always be the unlucky one

  11. GtisBetter (@)
    2nd September 2018, 16:48

    I can see why he thinks that as there wasn’t much Vettel could do when Hamilton was on the outside. It’s just a tight squeeze and hitting kerbs doesn’t help. We have seen plenty of these first lap incidents. Just racing.

    1. Which is why Vettel should avoid his customary post race whinge when things don’t do his way. This incident reminds me of the time he accused Kvyat for dive bombing in China 2016, and Kvyat just looks at him says “It’s called racing”

      1. @todfod Considering what happened afterwards that’s not the world’s best example.

        That said, things Like Turkey 2010 and Baku 2017 OTOH…

        1. @davidnotcoulthard

          And Mexico 2017 and Britain 2017 (bumper cars moment)

          1. Alex McFarlane
            2nd September 2018, 18:49

            And the post race shunt with Stroll at Malaysia last year.

  12. Ridiculous from Vettel. He could have left more room, Hamilton could have left more room- neither did, contact was made, racing incident. The gloves are off and there is a WDC at stake. There will always be a risk engaging in wheel to wheel combat, this time VET came off worse.

    1. Hamilton left enough room

  13. “I tried to pass Kimi then he opened the brakes and I didn’t really have a gap and I didn’t want to try something silly.”
    See, thats the reason why he clashed with Hamilton. He was never close to attack Kimi & i wonder if Vettel expected Kimi to yield & since Kimi didn’t, he caught by surprise & misjugded turn 3. His mistake can be compared with the one that Hamilton did in this specific chichane back in 2010.

  14. To Ferrari:
    Better sign Alonso before he jumps ship. Judging from the reaction today, he is still loved by the Tifosi.
    Vettel isn’t going to get you to the promised land and it isn’t because he doesn’t have the car to do it.

    1. maybe when Vettel’s contract is up, buying him out wont go down well in some quarters

    2. @jorge-lardone will definitely +1 this comment

  15. So what happened to the smug posters back when Vettel started notching his first wins for Ferrari, those posters that claimed he ‘would do at Ferrari that Alonso couldn’t achieve’ ?
    2 titles in a row now blown by stress related errors? Alonso made the odd error but was an absolute trooper dealing with the pressure over a season. Like Hakkinen, well dealt with pressure comes out as tears when it’s over.

    1. Yes, Seb has made more major mistakes in the last 2 years than ALO has in his career. You have to be smarter than that – he’s very fortunate he wasn’t out of the race!

      Hamilton and Ricciardo both mentioned the fact that ALO will yield to another driver at times knowing crashing out of a race is the worst scenario. He also realizes opportunities often present themselves (wrecks, pit strategy etc.) that can decide the outcome.

      Whereas ALO exceeded expectations at Ferrari considering the car’s capabilities, Seb is failing miserably. Maybe he can’t handle the pressure or maybe he isn’t the great driver he is perceived to be. In any case, it’s looking bleak for Ferrari.

      Too many opportunities have been wasted. Hamilton surely will win more races and time is running out. I think Mercedes will have to have bad luck to lose.

    2. those posters that claimed he ‘would do at Ferrari that Alonso couldn’t achieve’ ?

      He can at least make a claim for finishing ahead of RAI as a Ferrari teammate at Spa….I guess?

    3. I think you’ve got this spot on, I was prepare to give Vettel the benefit of the doubt over the last couple of years, but this year with a car that is marginally quicker over a few more circuits than the Mercedes he has managed to ditch more points than 2017. Hamilton first quarter of the season was not where it needed to be, but subsequently he has managed to maximise the available points, give Alonso the same Ferrari and Hamilton would be on the chase rather than commanding a 30 point lead. Lewis has the edge both mentally and in race craft over Vettel.

  16. Vettel only had eyes for the gap up the inside of Raikkonen. By the time he backed out of it, he was already mugged by Lewis. Limit of adhesion + abrupt change of direction meant the slightest touch at that moment was always going to end badly for one or both of them. Lewis came off better, but was very lucky to avoid damage, a puncture or spin. It was a racing incident in my eyes, but if forced to appropriate blame, it has to fall on Seb. He was behind at the point of contact, his car initiated the contact, and he had a car-width’s room to safely occupy. Ultimately a bit of understeer was his undoing (got out of the brakes a touch too early maybe), but Lewis left him room.

  17. I’m pretty sure that Vettel just needs to look at Hamilton conceding the lead to Raikkonen at the same corner after the restart to see how he could have found space to avoid a collision. I remember it being largely similar to the Vettel-Hamilton incident in terms of how the 2 cars were positioned through the braking zone, although I would like to see it again. Not knowing when to bail, despite probably having the best car at this point in the season, has cost him a lot of points today, and is a reflection of the rest of his season.

  18. Interesting tactics

  19. Many years ago Michael Schumacher started a practice of saying I won’t comment until I’ve seen the video. Vettel should learn from that and do the same. It would be nice if after those comments he was shown the video and then asked if he wanted to revise his statement.

    1. His comment would be more like ” after seeing the video, I m more convinced now than ever before. People need kneel before me and get off the and leave me alone in the track!” All the spaces and gaps belongs to him… :)

      1. Alex McFarlane
        2nd September 2018, 18:54

        “Blue flag Charlie, Blue flag!”

        “Seb, he’s on the lead lap”


      2. Wauw, low salty comments…

    2. I agree on this one. Such comments doesn’t make Vettel looking good at all. Why comment? Why not privately talk things out?

      1. Yeah.. A “we’ll talk about this later” comment would have been perfect

  20. Was it possible for vettel to back out of it and let hamilton through? Perhaps this was the better choice for him. However, it’s nobody’s fault. It’s a racing incident. And I don’t know why you are all complaining but Vettel paid his price more then enough. Had to pit twice with a front wing change due to his mistakes. Came out 5th from last.

    1. We are complaining because Vettel is blaming Hamilton. Which is ludicrous as, I hope, you would agree.

    2. Well @phil9079, as some others have said, Vettel admits

      I tried to pass Kimi then he opened the brakes and I didn’t really have a gap and I didn’t want to try something silly

      , and that was likely where it went wrong for him, because since he was only looking at kimi ahead, and the lead, he didn’t notice that he gave Hamilton space to make a move; should probably have chosen to defend against his WDC rival first and wait to see how the rest of the race played out, rather than try to steal it from his teammate then and there.

      1. I see, ok, good point.

  21. Vettel’s problem is he doesn’t know who his opponents are and as a result he doesn’t know who to attack and who to defend from when it matters… He did similar mistakes countless of times now he can’t blame Merc engine anymore or his own team for good measure! Talk later should now come from team…

  22. Funny thing is that we saw several cars going through that corner side by side as Vettel watched from his car facing the wrong way.

    1. Sain and Ocon

  23. Seh I am your fan and I want you to win the championship. But it was your fault. You should’ve either left bis space for Lewis to pass or let him pass.

  24. Hamilton did what he usually does and that’s angle his car to block the apex. He’s the only one who can do it properly since Rosberg tried pulling that and hit I’m in Austria.

  25. Alex McFarlane
    2nd September 2018, 18:28

    I think Seb needs to see a doctor, his brain seems to have a problem with random bouts of flatulence.

    1. maybe you need a doctor too as this isn’t even a funny comment…

      1. Alex McFarlane
        2nd September 2018, 19:22

        Ain’t you the cheerful one. Just a bit of fun.

        1. Well… it made me smile… lol.

  26. Only way Vettel can win is if he starts P1 or if somehow manages to the front by turn 1/2. Vettel is mediocre when it comes to wheel to wheel racing especially against late breakers as Lewis, Verstappen and Ricciardo. He shows this again and again and makes me even wonder more about the 4 WDC he has won what if!

    Ferrari is the better car but Lewis is a better driver and Man is beating the Machine right now! Cheers!

    1. Oh ok so that’s why he stayed last then?? Lol, he overtook almost twice the field up untill 5th place… If you still think you’re right, you’re blind…

      1. “Ain’t you the cheerful one.” lol.

  27. I predict a rapid loss of points over the next few races as the pressure of having to close the gap leads to him making very rash wheel to wheel decisions in situations that really aren’t worth fighting.

    At least I hope so. Vettel self destructing time and again is amusing.

    1. Well, maybe the next race (that’s Singapore, right?) puts him on pole again, and let’s assume he doesn’t do the same as last year, he’ll get some points back I’d think. But maybe you are right, and he does mimic last year @sham

  28. I predicted one of the Ferrari’s will hit Lewis; as neither of them is good at wheel to wheel racing – with Vettel obviously the much worse one. My money was on him hitting Lewis, with Lewis coming worse off.

    I’m glad it happened the other way around.

    The only problem, contact is now more likely to happen between them in future races as Vettel always wants to prove a point. He is no better than Vesterppen in this regard.

    In fact, i make them both the worst wheel to wheel racers on the whole grid at the moment. Their sense of entitlement, unwillingness to yield or concede, coupled with a red mist that regularly descends, earns them this unflattering accolade.

    1. @kbdavies I think they’re different. Verstappen pushes the margins to the edge – and then sometimes a bit beyond. Today was a case in point. He actually did leave almost exactly one car width on track, but that’s to the millimeter and meant contact, which at that speed simply bumped Bottas off the corner and into the chicane bollards. That left open to a penalty, duly delivered. He simply needs to leave a bigger margin to avoid those decisions going against him (and now he has a reputation, they tend to). Vettel is something else, aggressive but with less close control, aka. clumsy.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      2nd September 2018, 20:28


      predicted one of the Ferrari’s will hit Lewis; as neither of them is good at wheel to wheel racing – with Vettel obviously the much worse one

      I actually think Kimi is the 2nd best wheel-to-wheel racer after Hamilton and we saw that today. There were 3 passes between Kimi and Lewis for the win at Monza all without contact, something that you’d expect from Kimi and Lewis.

      Anytime you see Vettel or Vestappen coming close to another car, the Safety Car and medics are all ready to leave :-)

      1. I would argue Alonso is better. I would rank them as such:

        1. Hamilton
        2. Alonso
        3. Kimi
        4. Ricciardo
        5. Vettel
        6. Verstappen (needs some polishing, he will be one of the greatest if he matures a bit more)

  29. Vettel is wrong here. Lewis left enough room. Vettel knew Lewis position around the outside and should have been slower through the apex.

    Vettel really should be leading this championship but there have been too many small mistakes where he has pushed unnecessarily hard. There are an ever decreasing number of races so the last thing he needs to be doing is dripping cheap points.

    Arguably Mercedes had better tyre performance today, but I am sure that Vettel would have done a better job of staying ahead of Hamilton than Kimi did.

  30. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    2nd September 2018, 20:51

    Hamilton tried pushing his way into a gap that didn’t exist. Vettel had the racing line. Hamilton then clipped Vettel.

    1. @peppermint-lemon Congratulations for fitting the maximum number of ‘wrongs’ possible into one line, takes some talent.

      1. +10
        Some of that Vet-Esque talent

  31. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    2nd September 2018, 21:29

    He completely screwed it up for himself this weekend, really really poor.

  32. Hahahaha best excuse ever, the car next to me on the outside did not give me room, hahahahaha

  33. My view, Sebs ego was the root cause. No need to attack Kimi down the inside on lap 1, totally expose himself to lewis. Seb could have waited until turn 1 lap 2 or until he had DRS or just let strategy play out because Ferrari would have favored him. He attacked Kimi because he was sulking from being beaten in quali.

    Regards the actual incident with Hamilton, Hamilton was gone by Vettel and was pushed to the track boundary, he had nowhere to go nor was he obliged to move. Seb was behind Hamilton, carried too much speed on a shallow line and made another massive blunder.

    Ferrari have the best car (marginally), but Mercedes have by far the better driver and that is what what will Hamilton the championship. It will be Hamiltons sweetest championship off all, a true drivers championship when more often than not he has not had the faster car. As long as the Ferrari and Merc are similar performance wise, and its Seb v Lewis, Lewis will win.

    1. Spot on! Wobs, I hope Hamilton wins the WDC this year and finally shuts people up to who the best driver on the grid is. I agree with a comment above about Seb, those 4 WDCs are (like Schumacher flattering an OK driver)

      Seb just had to sit tight and take Kimi later in the lap or at the pitstops.

      I still can’t believe he drove off the track while in the lead in Germany.

      Frankly, I don’t think its even close between Seb and Ham.

      Add to all this Bottas this year shows just how underrated Nico was!

  34. oh… perhaps Lewis didn’t know the queen of ferrari was coming behind him..

  35. Maybe because you forgot to yell ‘blue flag’ in TR.

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