Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Sports | By Toni Houston

Vettel and Verstappen collide in Japan

Vettel and Verstappen collide in Japan

The Ferrari downfall coincides with the appointment of Sebastian Vettel in 2015 after the German won four straight Championships with Red Bull from 2010-13 in a supremely fast vehicle under the guidance of race engineer Adrian Newey.

It was a soporific race at the front, Hamilton so in control on his way to his sixth win in seven races that he at one point asked his team if they were still there, so little did they need to talk to him.

"Honestly, I thought that was how it was going to be being as they were so strong in the previous two races".

However, the rain ultimately held off until later in the session meaning Vettel had to drive back to the pits for slicks only for it to start raining halfway round his quick lap.

A period of Mercedes dominance in 2015 and 2016 saw Vettel fall behind in the Championship race, failing to win a single Grand Prix in 2016 and raising serious questions over his ability to perform the way he could at Red Bull. The latter though did face pressure from Verstappen but did not succumb finishing a 1-2 for Mercedes, second time in a row.

"I can't wait to unleash this beast in Austin", he added, pointing at his vehicle.

Vettel, whose dreams of pipping Hamilton to five world titles now look all but over, had barely left the garage on the harder compound tyres when he informed Ferrari of the error over team radio.

Max Verstappen completed the podium as Vettel endured yet another miserable afternoon following his crash with the Red Bull driver in the early stages of Sunday's Suzuka race.

Vettel was left wondering what might have been after a ruining an electric start with an ill-advised attempt to duck inside Verstappen at turn 13. "I even gave him space but he understeered into my auto", said Verstappen. I'm sure Sebastian could tell you why. "That's probably the end of his championship".

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"I had more speed, and he didn't give enough room".

Vettel tumbled down the order to 19th and while both were investigated by race stewards for the collision, no action was taken. Force India's Esteban Ocan was ninth while Renault's Carlos Sainz rounded out the top 10. "As soon as he realises somebody is close or next to him, he tries to push when you shouldn't push anymore". Verstappen was subsequently assessed a five-second time penalty. "I am grateful to have also delivered when the time has been to deliver".

"For me, the gap was there - otherwise I wouldn't do it", Vettel added.

Wolff said, "We haven't won any of this year but I think it's important to reinvent yourself and set new objectives and there is always the risk for complacency, the risk that you are running out of targets so we are setting ourselves ambitious targets".

"He could have been a bit more careful".

"I'm not the one who makes the rules but I think it's a similar scenario to what I had in China with him", said Verstappen.

As his chances of pipping Hamilton to a fifth Formula One crown slip away, Vettel was still seething after the race.

"I don't regret the move". "Obviously with that outcome you would do it differently". The Red Bull driver locked up on the final corner of the opening lap and ran off track, only to rejoin in the second part of the chicane.

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