Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel acknowledges he was to blame for the crash that cost both himself and Valtteri Bottas at the start of Sunday’s French GP. Second and third on the grid, Sebastian tried to make a move on Bottas but instead caught the slightly slower Finn.
The Maranello team’s driver hit the back of Valtteri Bottas’ W09, breaking his own front wing while leaving Bottas with a puncture:
“My start was too good and then I ended up with nowhere to go.” – he said at the end of the race – “It was my mistake. I tried to brake early and get out of it but I had no room. Valtteri tried to get his position back which is fair enough but then I had nowhere to go. The turn goes left and I tried to slow down but with that little grip, I therefore unfortunately made contact with Valtteri.”
Sebastian Vettel, who dropped to 16th place, recovered to finish P5: “I think we had good pace,” he added. “I tried to hammer through the field to recover, and damaged the tyres. I think we had decent pace to go at least with Mercedes.” – the German driver added, as reported by the Italian media at the end of the 2018 French Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel believes he could have challenged Hamilton for the win, but he said the nature of his race following the incident made it difficult to judge what was possible. At his pitstop for repairs on the opening lap he took a set of soft tyres for a long stint, before then stopping again for a short final stint on ultrasofts. When asked if Ferrari had the pace to win, he said: “I haven’t seen enough of the race, you have seen more than me. We had good pace, I tried to hammer through the field to recover and damaged the tyres, therefore it is a bit difficult to say. You are always on different tyres and in the end I had a lot fresher tyres [than the rest]. I think we had decent pace to at least go with Mercedes.”
Vettel now trails Hamilton, who won the race comfortably, by 14 points in the drivers’ standings.