Sebastian Vettel felt it was silly but brushed off his F1 Russian GP tangle with Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll.
For the Aston Martin drivers, they both endured a frustrating F1 Russian GP, where Stroll was 11th and Vettel was 12th. A further disappointment was the fact that they brushed against each other for the second Grand Prix running after Monza.
Stroll forced Vettel wide on the opening lap at Monza, two weeks ago. The latest came in changing conditions at Sochi, when the Canadian – probably – did not see the German, when he was shoved into the wall when he tried to go on the outside in a left-hander.
They did touch again on the exit, but Vettel brushed off the incident. He reckoned Stroll did not see him and that it was obviously not intentional. “I think it must be a mis-understanding, I don’t think he saw me,” he said to TV media. “I thought, he will leave the gap on the outside but fair enough that in these conditions, the first priority is not to look into the mirrors.
“Fortunately, nothing happened but we are both out of the points, so it is a bit silly as it didn’t change anything.” Indeed no points and in fairness it could have been a lot worse as an accident, as Stroll found out a litter later when he had a contact with Pierre Gasly.
Eventually, both Aston Martin drivers were caught out by the rain which fell from about Lap 47. When this happens this late, it can produce a ‘will we pit or wont we pit’ scenario. Some drivers pitted early, some pitted late and too late in some cases.
Both Vettel and Stroll delayed theirs which hampered their points chances. “I think it was difficult to judge with the rain coming up,” said the German. “Initially it was not that bad, we stayed out one lap too long, otherwise I think…with hindsight it is always easy.
“I think, of course, I wouldn’t say I would it again because it was wrong but it felt okay at that time but the rain got a lot more intense and caught us out,” summed up Vettel, who ended up a lap behind the leaders. Similarly, his teammate was rather down.
He wanted to stay out and it didn’t work. However, preceding this, a fantastic start saw him jump to fourth from seventh on the grid. Despite this and his brush with Vettel and Gasly set him back, along with 10s time penalty for the latter, which has put Stroll on eight penalty points in the 12-month period.
“It is a real shame that the change in weather cost us a strong chance of a good result and plenty of points,” said Stroll. “In hindsight, stopping one lap earlier for Intermediates could have changed our race, but it is always hard to judge when the conditions are evolving. I made the call for us to stay out and try to make it to the end, so it is down to me.
“It is even more disappointing considering we made a great start and got up to fourth in what was a really enjoyable battle in the first few corners. We made the undercut on George later on, which worked out nicely, but the second stint on the Hard tyre was made more challenging by the DRS train of cars ahead, which always hurts the tyres, and then it rained. It became very slippery out there and I did not see Sebastian alongside me.”
Vettel, meanwhile, did have animated discussions with Lawrence Stroll – being joined by Otmar Szafnauer, after the race. It seemed like he was explaining the sequence of events – whether it was related to that incident or the fight with Charles Leclerc, it is unclear.
— tami. (@Vetteleclerc) September 26, 2021
The story was written by Neil Farrell
Here’s Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll fighting: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2021-russian-grand-prix-vettel-hits-the-wall-after-clash-with-team-mate-stroll.1711971358339854244.html
Here’s Sebastian Vettel against Charles Leclerc: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2021-russian-grand-prix-verstappen-and-leclerc-almost-touch-in-thrilling-three-way-battle-with-vettel.1711967578700500529.html
Here’s how F1 Russian GP panned out