It was indeed a silly mistake to make for a four-time Formula 1 world champion to give away a race win in that manner, something which Sebastian Vettel agreed to as well.
Until rain came in the German Grand Prix, Ferrari’s Vettel seemed like a clear winner with the battle for second on between Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas. The German had it under control till the crash point.
The rain didn’t come hard at first and subsided pretty quickly. However, it returned at a different section and a slight lapse of control was enough for Vettel to retire. He crashed out in the stadium section on Lap 52 under slippery conditions.
The German lost control as he locked his rears on the approach to the left-hander and before he could turn in, he went straight onto the gravel to hit the tyre barrier. Naturally, he was livid with the small mistake resulting in such major repercussions.
In fact, Vettel admitted that a ‘spectacular crash’ wouldn’t have hurt him this much as the small error did while also accepting fault. “It was my fault,” started Vettel. “[I] just braked a bit late and locked the rear.
“It was the wrong corner for that to happen, I think everywhere else you can recover but that’s how it is. I managed it [the conditions] quite well until that point, but a tiny bit too late on the brakes and nothing spectacular really.
“I think it feels better if it is spectacular because you have done something really wrong but in this case, I didn’t really do much wrong but [it was] enough to finish the race. I don’t think it was a huge mistake.
“It was a huge impact on the race because we retired there. It is not like tonight I’ll have difficulties to sleep, I think its disappointing because up to that point everything was sweet,” he explained.
With Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton going on to win even with a penalty scare, Vettel has fallen 17 points behind his title rival. Another key disappointmenting factor for Vettel was the car looked much stronger than Mercedes and they couldn’t capitalise.
“We had a strong car, so I think we can be as confident as…more than anybody else,” he said. “It has been a very positive weekend [overall]. It was just one of those moments, my mistake so apologies to the team.
“They did everything right and I had it in my hands, small mistake and big-big disappointment.” Ferrari also lost the constructors’ lead to Mercedes by eight points after Raikkonen was third with Bottas in second.
Prior to the incident, Vettel had a brief moment of anxiety when he was stuck behind teammate Raikkonen – with the latter on a different strategy. The German wanted to pass him quick, but the team took their own time to decide.
“I think we were on different strategies, but it was sort of getting stuck and I didn’t understand what we wanted to do, whether to save tyres or pass, so I think it was a bit unnecessary thing, but in the end it didn’t matter,” he said.