Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Vettel says Ocon collision was “probably my mistake”

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel said he was “probably” to blame for the collision with Esteban Ocon which led to him receiving a 10-second time penalty.

The Aston Martin driver’s second penalty of the day had no effect on his finishing position. He took the chequered flag in 15th place, 18 seconds behind George Russell and 17 seconds ahead of Mick Schumacher.

He was given the penalty for running into the back of Ocon at turn one, knocking the Alpine driver into a spin, while the pair were disputing 12th place.

“I thought he would stay right and then when he came back left, he was right ahead of me and I locked [up],” said Vettel. “So it was probably my mistake.”

“I spoke with him straight away and I think we agree so there’s not that much to go through,” he added.

The stewards ruled Vettel was “wholly to blame” for the collision. In addition to his time penalty Vettel was given two penalty points on his licence, taking him to a total of five, accounting for the three he earned earlier in the day for failing to observe double yellow flags.

Ocon said he would have been more upset about the incident had they been fighting for points positions.

“I’ve rewatched the accident just now. He came in and apologised, he got the penalty for it so it’s all OK. If we were fighting for good points at the time, I would have been more upset, clearly.

“But I stayed on my line and it looks like basically he comes in my dirty air. So he’s moving to the left, to the normal line, but is losing the grip basically and that’s when he locks up and pushed me in the back.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
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54 comments on “Vettel says Ocon collision was “probably my mistake””

  1. Am I completely confused or Icon passed him on the left without changing direction as Vettel went inside to cover? I remember seeing Vettel moving left behind Ocon than hitting him and now he says Ocon moved to the left?!?!

    This is so weird that I’m doubting what I think I saw!

    1. No, I remember it right!
      https://www.formula1.com/en/video/2021/3/2021_Bahrain_Grand_Prix__Vettel_crashes_into_the_back_of_Ocon.html

      Is he loosing his mind or what?
      I told a friend that Vettel would run n/damage his reputation for good this season and so far he did just that!

    2. Yeah, Vettel moved to the left right under Ocon’s rear wing before finding out that when you lose downforce from doing that, you cannot slow the car down @bakano.

      “probably my fault” – in fact, if he is honest with himself he will know that he defenitely is clearly at fault in this accident.

    3. Coventry Climax
      28th March 2021, 21:25

      Oh, come on, just a minor mistake by Vettel, who drove an otherwise brilliant race, now that he has a car that really suits his driving style. ;-)

      1. How can Vettel make what is essentially, a rookie error? The exact same mistake he made at Silverstone 2019… Vettel has been pretty poor all weekend, it really is time to go…

      2. Seems Vettel’s driving style is increasingly having rookie accidents with others! Making too many silly errors for a world champion….!!

      3. Coventry Climax
        29th March 2021, 12:51

        @pSynrg & @Kevin C: Ever heard of the word ‘cynical’, guys? It wasn’t even a rookie error, it was plain stupid and proof he has no place in F1 anylonger. His championships were due to his car plus weak teammates, and nothing else.
        Vettel should have been thrown out of Ferrari at least 2 years earlier, and should have retired at that same time, in order to save some of his -in my opinion unmerited- reputation.

    4. He is just lying.

  2. Probably?, no, totally your fault.

  3. Seb has not been himself since he crashed into a wall in the main square at Milan during a Ferrari demo in the build up to Monza 2018. In the race in Monza he spun and was last in a matter of seconds. Since then he has been a broken man whose every other action is a mistake.
    He needs help.

    1. Not Germany 2018 a few weeks before?

      I mean he punted in to Bottas in France a few weeks before Germany, does he have a problem in dirty air?

      1. I fear the problem is bigger. Has he ever performed well besides his 4 years dominant car, bad team mate period?

        1. Yes, he performed very well when Raikonnen was his teammate. Raikonnen the world champion who is still on the grid and still matching his own much younger teammate.

          But Vettel has really lost it. His pace was not good in the race – although I enjoyed his feisty support of Stroll – but to finish it off with a misjudgement and a punt (not for the first time) shows that it’s time to hang up the gloves.

        2. Neil Debacquer
          29th March 2021, 17:21

          He won in Monza 2008 in a Toro Rosso on merit against a much quicker Mclaren…

          Reply moderated
      2. Giuliano Sadar
        29th March 2021, 11:45

        After Germany he won in Spa. The story is far more complicate. About yesterday, Seb did a very good race with yellow tyres, prolonguing their life more than others, loosing pace with an avoidable error. But for more than half race I saw a lucid and fighting driver. Good luck Seb, you deserve more.

  4. The radio message was embarrassing.

    1. Selwan Al-Amin
      28th March 2021, 22:31

      Yep.

      Reply moderated
    2. You would assume that a man of his experience would have the awareness to immediately see that the fault was his. Not after the race, but right there after the incident. But no, somehow it had to be Ocon’s fault *.*

    3. @john-h Yes it was.

      Very poor move by Vettel, but we’ve seen similar from ageing drivers. I thought he would be transformed this year, but maybe he’s really burned out.

  5. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    28th March 2021, 20:00

    I still think those saying he is completely broken are a bit harsh. He still shows he can be decent as a lot of his fighting and defending with Alonso especially today and many other drivers was excellent. He just has a few too many lapses of concentration. That is a big problem, but it’s not like there isn’t obvious signs that he’s still very able. He just needs to cut down on mistakes.

    1. I respectfully disagree. Hulk is able to just show up and out race Seb. He is out there collecting a check. F1 fans deserve to have 20 committed drivers out there each week.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        28th March 2021, 20:44

        Your comment barely relates to what I have said. I was mainly talking today. I can’t deny last year was a bad season for Vettel. But when he is comfortable, he still shows more skills than many drivers have, he just doesn’t do this often enough. Turkey last year was possibly one of the best drives of any driver last year. One of the only drivers to not make a mistake the whole race.

        He can be great still, so this is why i don’t think we should fully discount him. It is a silly comparison bringing up hulkenberg for one occasion where vettel spun.

    2. @thegianthogweed – I agree, something is strange. He can pull nice moments as he shown Alonso today with worn tyres. But then, he makes some ill judged choices that bins everything. Error prone or not, he was not like this before, otherwise he wouldn’t be 4x WDC.

      1. @niefer
        As I started watching F1 in 2010, the very first memory of Vettel for me is when He dramatically ran into Webber in Turkey I believe and they both went off the track spinning. Can’t recall the year though, 2010, maybe 2011.
        I’d say that was the same sort of clumsy mistake he seems to be on a roll with the last few years again.

        1. @renee – It was 2010, yes. Granted, Vettel always had some clumsy moments. However, his highs outweighed those moments usually. Now, it kinda reversed, which feels so odd.

          Now, past-Vettel never worried me, as past legends had their clumsy moments as well. Senna also loved to spin and misjudge braking points, Mansell was laughable at times, Prost was an embarrassment whenever a drop of water fell, Hamilton was pitiful in his off-season… The only difference is that Vettel is the one finishing his spell on a low.

          I, for one, prefer measuring them by their highs. On that regard, Vettel, just like the above, managed sky high (maaaybe not Nigel, lol).

      2. Yes, he was like this before, he has always been like this. But he is not like this when he is alone, in a clear track, which happened often on his championship years.

    3. When driving the finest and fastest race cars in the world and you are one of the top 20 race drivers in the world, you should not have 1 lapse of concentration, let alone “too many lapses of concentration”

      I really like Seb off the track, but he should no longer be on a track in an F1 car.

      Reply moderated
    4. Giuliano Sadar
      29th March 2021, 11:52

      Agree with you. Give him a bunch of races to regain confidence. Yesterday he showed good moments too. As not talking about the difficults he is facing not having really tested the car so far. I also add that last year he suffered the instability of rear car, this year all the cars have a more instable rear because of new rules. Sorry for my english.

  6. Nah, Ocon definitely changed line and caused Vettel to hit him… always someone else’s fault (at least as his first reaction)

  7. I really hoped this wouldn’t be the kind of discussion we’d be having after Seb’s first race away from a top team… More worryingly, its EXACTLY the kind of incident that has shown to have a big knock-on effect for him as he continues.

    Going out in Q1, picking up a penalty along the way, causing a collision and ending up miles away from your (not particularly highly rated) team mate is not the start to the season he needed – or most of us wanted.

    There was a good opening lap in there, even if race control didn’t want to show it, and some of the driving with Alonso was top notch. I hope he can mentally focus himself on those aspects of his weekend, keep away from the inevitable bashing that is going to come his way and show more of that next time out.

    1. Just to add – compare that to Fernando’s first weekend back… In Q3, mixing with the McLaren’s and Ferrari’s for most of the race until his machinery started giving up on him.

      I truly hope Renault can give him a reliable ride this year. If the engineers and mechanics can do that, he can do the rest.

  8. Why are people in 2021 still surprised Vettel is making such silly mistakes? He was error-prone from the very first race and nothing has changed since then! Looking for absurd excuses, like losing blown diffuser, crashing out at his home race in 2018 or Ferrari apparently sabotaging him last year is so pathetic. It’s time to accept you can win F1 titles, 4 in a row in fact, even if you are “only” good driver, simply because your car is dominant and team behind you is operating at the very best level. I’m absolutely convinced Button or Rosberg were better drivers than Vettel, but had no privilege of driving rocketship of a car, while being unchallenged by the driver on the other side of the garage.

    1. Exactly but it takes years to understand this simple fact for Ferrari.

      1. Selwan Al-Amin
        28th March 2021, 22:35

        Well said bro. He’s an awful awful driver. Full of mistakes and unable to handle a half decent team mate such as Ricardo, or Leclerc.

        Hes going to be the first F1 driver to banned for accruing 12 penalty points from his upcoming mistakes. 22 races to go. You can bet on it.

        Reply moderated
    2. Finallly somebody else who can understand what’s in front. Somehow we have been seeing the same Vettel since his junior career and most people don’t notice.

    3. Giuliano Sadar
      29th March 2021, 11:58

      For years I read similar hating comments by Ferrari supporters. Sorry to read here too.

  9. He should’ve immediately realized being 100% at fault. Ocon stayed on the racing line until he started turning in for the corner, which he eventually would’ve had to do anyway.

  10. lol, who would know Hulkenberg may replace a driver sooner than expected with a banned Seb?

    1. Make sure to send a note to Hulk …. keep training, you may get the call soon.
      To quote that famous British philosopher, “The end is nigh”.
      Let’s hope he can pull it together, but it’s not looking good.

  11. The phrase that comes to mind contains ‘no’ and ‘Sherlock’ with a word in-between.

    Given that Ocon and Vettel are probably the two drivers that need to salvage their reputations the most this year, neither of them did themselves any favours this weekend with their poor performances.

  12. Since Ferrari announced his departure from the team, with the exception of Turkey last year, he’s justified their decision at every single weekend in my opinion.

  13. I really don’t want to say this even though Vettel has never been my favorite driver but he is becoming Damon Hill 2.0

    1. Coventry Climax
      28th March 2021, 21:32

      That is hugely unfair to Damon!

    2. Selwan Al-Amin
      28th March 2021, 22:29

      Vettel cannot drive without a blown diffuser. Pass it on.

      Reply moderated
  14. Ferrari management is just great, they are only better than morons. They trusted Vettel for years as their lead driver.

    Reply moderated
  15. Selwan Al-Amin
    28th March 2021, 22:28

    Course it was your fault. Velltel has been awful since leaving red bull, in fact since Riccardo joined Red Bull. How many times have we seen him make the same mistake over and over again? Just go. Please, just go….

    Reply moderated
  16. I think Vettel probably needs a sports psychologist to help him rework his race weekends as clearly he’s making more unforced errors and as a consequence under pressure. He hasn’t suddenly lost his driving ability at his age, it must be psychological.

  17. It was a weird move from Vettel to duck underneath Ocon to take the line into 1, when even novices know that you lose downforce quickly if you’re braking in the wheeltracks of a car, so steering sharply at the same time is a bad idea. Shades of Silverstone 2019 and Spa 2010 here. I just feel that with Seb, wheel-to-wheel racing is not something that he ever developed as a second-nature thing, mainly because he keeps making fundamental errors a driver in his 14th full season shouldn’t be making.

    I hope to heck he can put this behind him and have some good races at Imola and Portimao (both places where Stroll struggled last year, though yes, he was recovering from covid) because this kind of inauspicious start could well ruin his psyche for the rest of the year.

  18. Vettel was dropped by BMW because he was unable to race in conditions different to clear track -where is was very quick. How so many people has failed over the years to see what is evident to some of us and was evident to BMW back then is something I can’t understand.

    1. Vettel was not dropped by BMW, what on earth are you on about? He got his USGP debut when Kubica got injured, and returned to racing in World Series by Renault once Kubica returned, until Red Bull, who had first call on Vettel’s services, put him in the Toro Rosso to replace Scott Speed.

      I don’t know where this revisionist history of Vettel being a BMW academy driver has come up, he was a Red Bull driver since his karting days and RBR loaned him out to BMW for some test outings in 2005 and 2006, since the latter were interested in having a German driver in that role.

  19. Honestly, his “Honestly” catchphrase might be gone.

  20. It’s starting to look like he crashed to get out of Ferrari, and now wants out of Aston Martin.

  21. This nose on my face is probably my nose.

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