Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel apologised to the Maranello team for the incident Sunday that ultimately cost him at shot at winning the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Sebastian spun on Lap 38 of 57 while defending second position from Lewis Hamilton at the medium-speed Turn 4 corner, losing control of his car despite not making contact with the Mercedes driver. The spin damaged Vettel’s tyres and the vibrations the car suffered meant his front wing tore off the car before he had made it back to the pit lane.
Not only did it relegate Sebastian Vettel down the order, but it also meant it was Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas who capitalised when Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari engine suffered problems in the closing stages of the race. A contrite Vettel took full responsibility when it was all finished.
“OK, sorry guys, my mistake,” he said on race radio. “I got surprised and lost the rear, then I couldn’t catch it anymore. Really sorry. And not sure about what I saw on TV, but I’m really sorry for Charles. Please tell Charles that he drove an excellent race, very strong and he should have won it.”
The spin will undoubtedly raise speculation about Vettel’s mindset after what happened in 2018. Vettel squandered a golden opportunity for a fifth world championship last year with a series of high-profile mistakes, most notably crashing out of the lead of the German Grand Prix.
“To be honest, I don’t think it has anything to do with pressure,” he said after the race. “Obviously, when I was fighting with Lewis, the target was to stay ahead and that was the ambition. I got surprised when I lost the rear that suddenly, and then when I was in the spin it was already too late.
“Certainly I had a look at it again, certainly it was my mistake and I need to digest that our race could have been a bit better without that spin at that time, but nevertheless it was difficult race and there is plenty of homework on my side this weekend not having the feel for the car, especially yesterday and today, so we need to have a good look. From a team’s point of view it was a good step forward from two weeks ago. Plenty of reason to look forward, and generally I am looking forward. Certainly, I am not happy today and I won’t be happy tonight, but I am quite happy to get in the car for Wednesday for the test and there is quite a lot of things I would like to try.”
“Not the race we wanted. We started first and second and we didn’t finish there. A disappointing evening. I had a good start but already halfway through the first lap I realised that the car was extremely difficult to drive. I think Charles struggled less as he had no difficulties in passing me. It was quite tough out there. Then we lost P2 at the pitstop but came back. In the second stint on the medium tyres maybe it was a bit better but overall we didn’t have the grip and pace we should have had today.” – Sebastian Vettel concluded.