Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel says that Max Verstappen’s lack of experience is not an excuse for their collision during the Chinese Grand Prix. The pair came to blows on lap 43 with Verstappen chasing Vettel down for third. The Dutchman locked up his rear tyres into the hairpin and collided with the Ferrari.
The stewards deemed the incident to be Verstappen’s fault and he was given a 10-second time penalty, dropping him from fourth to fifth. Sebastian came off the incident much worse, dropping to seventh and was later overtaken by McLaren’s Fernando Alonso at Turn 2.
When asked if the reason for Verstappen’s mistakes is his age, Vettel replied: “He has done enough races. But again, this can also happen if you’ve done 300 races. Inside the car, you mustn’t forget that the judgements are very difficult to make but you have to ultimately have these things in mind and make sure you don’t crash:
“I mean he could have easily taken his front wing off, get a puncture, whatever, then it’s game over for both of us. In that case, obviously, we were both a bit lucky. It’s just how it goes.” – he explained.
The race turned on its head on lap 35 after the two Toro Rossos collided at the hairpin leaving debris on the racing line. This resulted in a brief Safety Car period which allowed both Red Bulls to pit for fresh rubber, while Vettel as well as race leader Bottas stayed out. Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen made their way through the field quickly and Vettel admits he had no intention of fighting the 20-year-old due to sheer pace the Red Bulls were showing at this stage of the race.
“I didn’t seem him until very late. I left a little bit of room. I mean, to be honest, I was expecting him to come earlier. I had no intention to resist because it was clear with Daniel as well there was no point 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 then obviously he did a mistake, he locked up, which happens. We have tailwind down that straight the whole race and I guess he misjudged and obviously compromised both of our results.” – Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel concluded.