Max Verstappen takes blame for Sebastian Vettel Chinese GP crash
Verstappen rams into championship leader on lap 43 of Chinese GP
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 11/12/18 3:17pm
Max Verstappen has accepted the blame for colliding with Sebastian Vettel at the Chinese GP.
Verstappen, on fresh soft tyres, attempted an overtake on the championship leader for third place at the hairpin on lap 43 but locked up, ramming into the Ferrari.
"I could see him struggling on the tyres and tried to brake late into the corner. I locked the rears a bit and hit him. That was of course my fault," Verstappen told Sky Sports F1.
The Dutch youngster later apologised in person to Vettel and to his Red Bull team on social media.
Congrats to @danielricciardo for his great win. Unfortunately I made a mistake and hit Seb. That compromised both our races. There is nothing I can change now except analyse my performance and come back stronger. Apologies to @redbullracing who did an amazing job. #ChineseGP pic.twitter.com/DF8x2aIgjx— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) April 15, 2018
"I think he realized he was wrong," said Vettel. "We were both lucky to continue but it was not necessary. However, I appreciated the fact he came to me straightway because that's the way to solve things like this, face to face."
Verstappen was handed a 10-second penalty for the incident and finished fifth in the final standings, being demoted behind Lewis Hamilton, who he had overtaken again following the crash.
Vettel dropped to sixth after being spun round by Verstappen and ultimately finished eighth, overtaken by Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso late on.
Vettel and Verstappen were seen speaking in the paddock after the race, and the Ferrari driver suggested Verstappen had to improve his decision making, having also collided with Hamilton a week ago in Bahrain.
"He's not young anymore. But this can happen when you have done 300 races. Inside the car judgements are very difficult to make," Vettel told Sky F1.
"But you have to ultimately have these things in mind and make sure you don't crash. We were both lucky."
Vettel said he was not planning to defend his position hard, adding: "I didn't see him until very late. I left a little bit of room as well.
"I was expecting him to come earlier. I had no intention to resist because it was clear with Daniel as well that there was no point doing so - they were just too quick on the fresh tyres.
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"I didn't want to compromise my race to the guys behind. But he made a mistake, locked up - it happens with a tailwind down that straight - I guess he misjudged and compromised both our races."
Despite another high-profile collision, Verstappen maintains he does not need to change his approach.
"It's not what you want and it's easy to say afterwards I should have waited," he said. "That probably would have been the best idea but unfortunately that happened.
"At the moment things are not going the way I like of course. Does it mean I need to calm down? I don't think so. I think it's unfortunate and I need to try and come back stronger at the next race."
Analysis from Sky F1 pundit Nico Rosberg:
"Today was a really bad day for Max.
"He messed up, took out the world championship leader, his team-mate won it in an incredible way. This is going to be a tough lesson for him, and maybe these are the days that are going to make a young driver like Max make that necessary progress.
"As a young driver eventually you do listen, and his team will be having a word with him as well and guiding him. He's an incredible driver so he just needs to fine tune and take a little bit of aggressivity out, and it's just too much.
"In Bahrain he learned a lesson because Lewis doesn't let anyone do that, and Max's car was destroyed afterwards."