Verstappen holds hands up for Vettel collision 

Tom Howard

Sunday 15th April, 2018 - 7:21pm

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Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen has accepted the blame for a costly clash with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages of the Chinese Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver made contact with Vettel at the Turn 14 hairpin when the pair were disputing third place on lap 43 of 56 in Shanghai.

Aided by fresh soft tyres after a late stop, Verstappen pitched both cars into spin that resulted in the stewards handing the Dutchman a 10-second penalty, which dropped him from fourth to fifth at the flag.

Meanwhile, championship leader Vettel limped home in eighth position having elected to nurse his worn tyres to the chequered flag.

Verstappen admitted post-race that he was at fault for the incident and was too impatient while trying to pass the Ferrari.

“I could see he was struggling on the tyres and tried to brake late in the corners,” said Verstappen.

“I locked the rears and hit him – it was, of course, my fault. Not what I want.

“It is easy to say after I should have waited, and that probably would have been the best idea, but unfortunately it happened.”

The 20-year-old has been at the centre of series of similar moves in his F1 career but feels there is no need for him to ‘calm down’.

“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,” he added.

While visibly upset by the move, Vettel felt the pair were lucky to avoid damage and reach the finish.

The four-time world champion had led the opening stint of the race from pole before falling behind Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after the pit stops.

“I didn’t see him until very late,” said Vettel.

“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 (Ricciardo) 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 happened. I guess he misjudged and sort of compromised both our results.

“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.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo took the victory following a stunning series of overtakes aided by Red Bull’s decision to stop its cars after a late Safety Car.

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