Sebastian Vettel 'fears' Max Verstappen, says the F1 Report
Has Max got Sebastian spooked? Debate on the Singapore crash on Wednesday's F1 Report with Kevin Eason and Mark Gallagher
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 20/09/17 8:33am
Sebastian Vettel's "fear" of Max Verstappen was a major factor in the Singapore GP start-line pile-up, according to this week's F1 Report.
The three-car crash, which has had huge ramifications for Vettel's title bid, was the latest flashpoint in the Ferrari driver's developing rivalry with Red Bull's Verstappen.
It was the first time the pair had lined up on a front-row together in F1, but they have several run-ins during wheel-to-wheel combat - notably in Mexico and Brazil last year, when Vettel complained vociferously over team radio about Verstappen's driving.
And experienced F1 journalist Kevin Eason reckons the opening seconds of last Sunday's race showed Verstappen has got the four-time world champion spooked.
"In Formula 1 there is one driver that Seb respects and that's Lewis. But there's one that he actually fears and that's Max," said Eason on F1 Report: Singapore Review, which airs for the first time at 8.30pm on Wednesday
"And I don't quite know why. Max has got right under his skin.
"As soon as Sebastian knew Max was next to him on the grid the collywobbles were going.
"I'm sure he looked across at that Red Bull car and thought 'whatever happens today, he's not going past me'. I think that helped trigger the whole incident."
F1 Report: When and where to watch this week
|On Sky Sports F1|
|Wednesday - 8.30pm|
|Thursday - 8.30pm|
|Sunday - 8.30pm|
|Online and On Demand|
|Available to view from Wednesday night|
Stewards ruled that no driver in the accident, which included the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, was wholly to blame, but Vettel was widely criticised for veering left towards Verstappen from pole position.
Verstappen was among those to question the Ferrari driver's tactics in a race in which he could have regained the world title lead from Lewis Hamilton, the eventual winner. Hamilton now leads Vettel by 28 points with six rounds to go.
"If you are fighting for the world championship you shouldn't take those risks squeezing someone that much," said Verstappen. "You can see what happens."
With both Ferrari drivers dropping out on the opening lap of a race for the first time in the Maranello marque's 68-year F1 history, the Scuderia now trail Mercedes by a near-insurmountable 102 points in the Constructors' Championship.
Mark Gallagher, a former engine boss at Cosworth and now F1 broadcaster, was surprised Vettel and Raikkonen, playing a supporting role to his team-mate's title bid, did not appear to have formulated an agreed plan for the start.
"As the whole thing evolved, I wondered why couldn't Vettel and Raikkonen sit down on that Sunday afternoon in Singapore and say 'how are you going to handle this start' and 'what happens if'? said Gallagher. "Run through lots of scenarios.
"The fact is Vettel chopped across and didn't see Raikkonen was on the other side of Verstappen. Equally, Raikkonen couldn't see that Vettel had given Verstappen nowhere to go."
Don't miss the F1 Report: Singapore Review as Mark Gallagher and Kevin Eason join Natalie Pinkham to look back at the frenetic rain-affected night race as well as discussing the fallout to the 2018 engine announcements. Watch on Sky Sports F1 on Wednesday at 8.30pm.
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