Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2018

Vettel says he wasn’t “desperate” in move on Verstappen

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel says he “wasn’t desperate to get past” Max Verstappen when the pair collided during the Japanese Grand Prix.

The pair made contact at Spoon Curve while disputing third place. Vettel defended his attempt to pass Verstappen despite knowing the Red Bull driver had a five-second penalty.

“I don’t regret the move,” said Vettel. “Obviously with that outcome you would do different because with hindsight it’s always different.

“But inside the car, the gap was there, his battery was clipping, I was boosting, I saved my battery, I had more speed, I would make the corner, I was side-by-side and he didn’t give enough room and we touched.”

Vettel said Verstappen’s collision with Kimi Raikkonen earlier in the race, which the Red Bull driver received a five-second penalty for, showed he is too unwilling to leave room for his rivals.

“I was obviously pushing to get past but I wasn’t desperate to get past,” said Vettel. “I knew he had a penalty but I also felt that we were faster.

“And then he was clipping on that straight with the battery and I was catching, I had a good exit. Obviously the Safety Car helped to be closer.

“The gap was there but as soon as he saw me obviously he defended. But I had the inside. As soon as he realised somebody is close or next to him he tries to, in my opinion, push when you shouldn’t push any more.

“I mean look at Kimi: he’s off the track and he comes back and if Kimi just drives on they collide. But it’s not always right that the other guy has to move. We’re all racing, the race is long, for me the gap was there otherwise I don’t do it. I think I got through the whole field without any trouble, sometimes closer, sometimes with more margin.

“It’s normal that sometimes it gets close but I think you need to always leave a space. In that case I couldn’t go anywhere and then we touched.

The stewards ruled “no driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident.”

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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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35 comments on “Vettel says he wasn’t “desperate” in move on Verstappen”

  1. ..Just stupid?

    1. 44 must experience max at least once in his life prior to his retirement

      1. He has already experienced Verstappen’s overly enthusiastic blocking attempts. Number 44 knows it’s best to stay out front and not get behind the Max roadblock that the FIA never seems to penalize for obvious, multiple move infractions.

      2. 44 didnt put up too much resistance last year during Malaysian GP and this year in Bahrain and China 44 basically gave Verstappen a taste of his medicine. So yeah in general the 44 is more cunning to keep roadblock behind him.

      3. Austin last year, 44 gave us a masterclass in how to go wheel to wheel with Verstappen.

  2. Sure, and I’m Bernie Ecclestone’s nanny.

    1. Then answer a rumor that has been going round………..does Bernie really wear a diaper?

  3. Patience can be a virtue, even in racing. This was just bad judgement on Vettel’s part. I don’t see anything Max did wrong in this incident.

    Trying to connect this incident to the Max/Kimi one is just an illogical argument by Mr. Vettel.

    1. Agreed, Verstappen was completely innocent in that particular incident. Vettel had the pace that he could have taken the Red Bull on the start/finish straight.

      But then we’re talking about the same Vettel who ran Verstappen wide at Silverstone last year, then was complaining when verstappen returned the favour two corners later.

      And tried to blame Hamilton for Monza this year.
      And tried to pass off blame for Singapore last year.
      And tried to claim Hamilton brake tested him at Baku last year and ‘Didn’t remember a second collision’ until he was in front of the FIA.

      At least other drivers hold up their hand and take a little responsibility.

      1. Yes, Hamilton has never blamed others. It’s only Vettel who does it and apparently all the time. The guy is not even blaming Max that much at all. Also, there is a difference between running someone a little wide and running someone off the track. One is racecfat, the other is bullcrap. He is being accused of being desperate and answering the question by pointing out with a bit more luck and fair racing he would have made it through and gone on to fight MB. The fact that Max’s knee-jerk reaction is to always block hard when anyone gets close to him and can never accept defeat, that apparently doesn’t matter. Don’t worry though. Max now fights for nothing. If the time comes when he will be the one fighting for a championship people will remember crazy Max.

        1. Sure Lewis has blamed people for collision and when he does, he’s often correct.

    2. Trying to connect this incident to the Max/Kimi one is just an illogical argument by Mr. Vettel.


      Agree completely. Just seems like a lame and convoluted logic by saying Max wronged kimi so hence he wronged me as well, despite it being clearly Vettels fault. Maybe Verstappen should use the same convoluted logic and claim that Vettel doesn’t know how to go wheel to wheel racing and pick up around half a dozen incidents from this season as an example to justify his claim.

  4. Trying to connect this incident to the Max/Kimi one is just an illogical argument by Mr. Vettel.

    @bullmello – I agree. It is very possible for one driver to be the wrongdoer once, and the victim another time. This is just an attempt at false equivalency by Vettel.

  5. Ferrari
    In qualifying
    there’s Inters
    In race
    there’s Seb

  6. Well, maybe it’s karma paying forward for your double move on Hamilton last week….

    1. Sure, that must be it!

  7. “ill-judged” attempt in my view.

    Max never gives an inch. Seb should have waited for the straight and used the Ferrari’s superior power and DRS to get the pass done.

    1. Steven Van Langendonck
      8th October 2018, 7:09

      So, are you arguing in favour of a DRS pass?
      I thought DRS was the evil invention of the anti-racing devil that wants to kill all action on track?
      In my view this was just good racing spirit from SV. He had significant more speed, saw a gap and went for it.

    2. The speed difference was so great Seb would have passed Max at the braking zone on the straight even without DRS. With DRS he would have been completely in front of Max when it came to braking. So a stupid and impatient move on a next to impossible point of the track. Sure passing a back marker would have worked there, but not the RedBull. Its just a stupid mistake from Vettel and now he looks to Max to blame. Max is correct: there are simularities to the China mistake. The door was slightly open but diving in was too optimistic in both instances. Just really bad that FIA always treats Ferrari drivers to special treatment when it comes to judging their faults. Had Max done this to Vettel he would have had a stop and go penalty and 3 points. Fia Stewarding is a total farce.

  8. Vettel could have won today, Ferrari had great race pace and the SS / S tyre strategy turned out to be better than the S / M.

    Totally called the crash at the start of that lap, Vettel was clearly 100% attack mode and Verstappen was indignant over his penalty. It was never going to be a good combo.

    1. Gotta disagree with you there. LH was faster all weekend , had the lead and he was cruising. He was doing faster laps on harder tires than Vettel all weekend . Would have been nice to see a challenge. I just don’t see Vettel beating LH in the race . Imo

  9. For once Verstappen was not at fault. This was an ill-timed, desperate-ish move by Vettel. Looking at the other passes into Spoon, you have to be almost completely alongside before the corner to make it stick, and Vettel simply wasn’t and run out of road and into Verstappen.

    Surprising that both cars survived the crash pretty much intact.

  10. Vettel’ss move on Verstappen in Suzuka was merely the same as Verstappens move on Vettel in China.
    With a difference Verstappen received a penalty in China

  11. Vettel should quit from Ferrari

    1. Not at all. But someone there needs to shout at him until he starts realizing that he screws up by himself a lot. When Vettel’d start owning up to and learning from his mistakes he would dominate so hard it wouldn’t even be funny anymore.

  12. Sorry SV, I have a lot of respect for you, but that was a stupid lunge. Ending up at the back of the field with the WDC well out of reach was your penalty, no need for the stewards.

    Been very unimpressed with how needlessly aggressive Vettel has been this season. Based on the step forward Mercedes have made, I don’t think he would have won the title, but he would have been a lot closer.

  13. In other News, a speaker for the galactic Empire announced that his Government had secured evidence for wmd s on Alderaan prior to last week’s defensive strike.

  14. Can’t believe he didn’t get a penalty

    1. Well he only hurt himself so that was alright i think

  15. Its plain to see how little racecraft you need to win 4 WDC when you have the dominant machinery. But Dan Ricciardo had already made this clear when he and SV were teammates.

  16. Ferrari should buy off Vets contract and get Alonso back! I’m not even joking!

    1. I totally agree. Fernando must be fumeing. If he stayed at Ferrarri he would probably be double or tripple WDC by not.

  17. I think I got through the whole field without any trouble

    This guy is killing me. It is not his skill that makes cars that are seconds off the pace move aside, but as soon as he meets a car that has somewhere near his own pace, he expects it to move aside for him as well?

  18. Wondering how long this team is going to be bootlicking this overrated driver. For some reason even SM was bootlicking him after some of the most embarasssing incidents this driver caused due to addiction to red mist.

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