Vettel crash ends Webbers victory hopes 30 Sep 2007
It had looked set to be a glorious Japanese Grand Prix for the Red Bull stable. In the final safety car period, Mark Webber was running second for Red Bull Racing, with Toro Rossos Sebastian Vettel on course for a maiden podium in third.
But then, after his spectacular ninth place in qualifying on Saturday - and a cool performance in the opening stages - it seems Vettels lack of experience in such tricky conditions finally got the better of him. The 20-year old German ran into the back of Webbers RB3, putting both men out of the race.
"I was behind Lewis (Hamilton) and Mark and exiting Turn 13, I looked to the right and saw Lewis going really slowly, I don't know why, but I thought he had a problem, said Vettel, who had also collided with Fernando Alonso earlier in the race. Probably he was heating his brakes. Then, by the time I looked forward again, I was already in the back of Mark's car and I think he had also reacted to Lewis. I apologise now to Mark because I ruined both our races."
Webber was visibly furious as he got out of the car and vented his anger on TV reporters upon his return to the pits. The Australian felt he could have vied with Hamilton for victory had it not been for Vettels indiscretion.
"That was a completely disastrous finish, he said. We were in very, very good shape to challenge Lewis for first today. We were strong and I didn't make any mistakes despite the tricky conditions, cars were aquaplaning and the visibility was very poor. Fernando's crash caused the second safety car stint, which bunched everyone back up again.
That wasn't great; I would have liked to have continued to the end of the race. Vettel was a bit wild behind me during the first safety car period and then did a very good job of hitting me very hard under the second safety car. I think today he will have learnt a very valuable lesson."
It marked the end of a difficult afternoon for Webber, who, suffering from food poisoning, had actually vomited in the cockpit during the initial safety-car period. There was some consolation for the Red Bull teams, however, as measured performances from David Coulthard and Vitantonio Liuzzi saw them finish fourth and eighth respectively.
For Liuzzi, it was his and Toro Rossos first point of the season, and was made all the more incredible given the Italian started the race from the pit lane in the T-car, having qualified on a dry-weather set-up.
Red Bull Racing remain fifth in the constructors standings, now just five points behind Williams, while Toro Rosso move up to ninth ahead of Spyker.