Sebastian Vettel readily apologised Esteban Ocon for the F1 Bahran GP rear hit, as the Frenchman wasn’t hugely upset as the fight wasn’t for points.
The first weekend for Vettel at Aston Martin resulted in five superlicense points – three in qualifying and two in the race – as he is still getting to grips with the new machine. There was a plus, though, of a solid start from the back of the field, showing some fighting spirit.
But he made a clumsy move on Alpine’s Ocon at Turn 1, which hurt him even more. Granted that Vettel was caught out in the dirty air of the Frenchman, but it wasn’t a good ending. The German radioed to blame his F1 rival, but realised his mistake then on.
Post-race, Vettel immediately went to apologise Ocon at parc ferme, who accepted his call. The Frenchman did not have a good outing himself and as they were not battling for points, the clash did not hurt him as much and he has moved on from it, since.
Explaining his actions, Vettel noted that he was trying get back on the racing line. “I was trying to cut back to the left but Esteban was moving left as well and then when I was right behind him I locked the fronts and hit him straight on,” he said to multiple TV media.
“I was sure he was leaving me space on the left but then he crossed back and as soon as I was behind him I locked up and couldn’t avoid hitting him.” At the same time, speaking to print media, Ocon added: “I re-watched the incident. He came and apologised. He got a penalty for that, so it is all ok.
“If we were fighting for points at that time, I would have been a bit more upset, clearly. It looks like that I stayed on my line and he came in my dirty air. So, he moved to the left on the normal line, where he lost the grip. Basically, that’s when he locked-up and pushed me on the back.
“We had a little bit of damage after that but we managed to finished the race to show that we have a fighting spirit,” summed up Ocon, who felt the start position cost Alpine more. As for Vettel, he was trying for one-stop initially, but a flat spot at the start of the race started to hurt him in his stint, which derailed his strategy and chance of points.
Here’s the video of Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon clash: https://www.formula1.com/en/video/2021/3/2021_Bahrain_Grand_Prix__Vettel_crashes_into_the_back_of_Ocon.html
Here’s how F1 Bahrain GP panned out