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2018 F1

Verstappen accepts blame for Vettel China collision

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Max Verstappen admits that full blame for his Chinese Grand Prix collision with F1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel was leading in the opening stint, only for the under-cutting Valtteri Bottas to beat him out of the pits by 1.3s as they came in for their only stop of the afternoon.

Red Bull duo pitted for fresh soft tyres, when safety car come out – the vital strategy that his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo transformed to victory.

With the fresh soft tyre, Verstappen was trying to overtake Vettel for third place when he pitched both into a spin with a late move at the hairpin.

The FIA stewards judged that Verstappen was at fault for the crash, and handed him a 10-second time penalty. After crossing the line in fourth place, he was downgraded to fifth.

Verstappen taking the blame for the crash, but the Dutchman says that his driving style doesn’t need altering.

“I could see he was struggling on the tyres and tried to brake late in the corners,” he said.

“I locked the rears and hit him. It was of course my fault. Not what I want.

“It is easy to say after that I should have waited, and that probably would have been the best idea, but unfortunately it happened.”

Pushed by Sky Sports F1 on whether he needed to be less aggressive, Verstappen replied: “It is easy to comment. At the moment it is not going the way I like of course, but does it mean I have to calm down? I don’t think so.

“It is very unfortunate those things happening and I need to analyse everything and try to come back stronger for the next races.”

Vettel spoke to Verstappen in the post-race parc ferme to make clear his sadness at the incident.

“I didn’t see him until very late,” said Vettel, who retains an 11-point championship lead over Hamilton.

“I left a little bit of room as well. To be honest I was expecting him to come earlier. I had no intention to resist him because I saw with Daniel as well there was no point in 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 he made a mistake, he locked up, which happens. I guess he misjudged and sort of compromised both our results.”

Asked whether he felt Verstappen needed to calm down, Vettel replied: “He has done enough races, but this can happen also if you have done 300 races.

“You mustn’t forget that inside the car the judgements are very difficult to make but you have to ultimately have these things in mind and make sure you don’t crash.

“He could easily have taken his front wing off or have a puncture. So we were both lucky.”

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