Verstappen ‘doesn’t know how he got car to finish’, as Vettel admits blame for crash
It was the incident that ultimately decided the final spot on the British Grand Prix podium: Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari nosing into the back of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull on the run down to Club Corner and sending them both into the gravel.
Both ultimately resumed the race, with Vettel given a 10-second penalty by the stewards for causing a collision and finishing 16th, and Verstappen recovering to fifth – though the Dutchman admits he can’t explain how he was able to nurse his RB15 to the flag with the damage it sustained.
“I honestly don't know how I brought that car to the finish,” said Verstappen. “My power steering failed, my seat was out, so all the time on the braking I was moving forward. In the high-speed corners I was moving left to right and then the car was really neutral. When I jumped out of the car the whole floor and rear was destroyed so [I'm] so happy to finish fifth.”
The incident occurred on lap 37 as the duo fought over third place. Verstappen had been chasing Vettel hard, and made a move stick around the outside at Stowe, only to be hit by the Ferrari moments later as the German misjudged his braking.
“It was my mistake,” admitted Vettel, who apologised to Verstappen right away in Parc Ferme. “He passed me into Stowe, he then ran a bit wide which gave me the chance to come back. Then I thought it looked for a second like he was going to the right and there would be a gap on the left, which I was going for, but it didn't open and by that point it was already too late, I was too close so I crashed.”
Given the nature of the crash, Verstappen was asked if it evoked memories of the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, when he was rear-ended by then Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo under braking.
“Yeah,” he said, “but I think the speed difference was less, because he could see I was going to close the door on the inside, so a bit different to Baku.
“In Baku I was going like 280km/h, Daniel was going 320km/h, you know it was a really big speed difference whereas here, I think you can expect me to close the door once I was ahead.
“He [Vettel] clearly out-braked himself locked up and hit my car but we already spoke to each other, he apologised. At the end what can you do?”
Despite the incident, Verstappen extended his run of top-five finishes to 19 consecutive races. Vettel, meanwhile, has been off the podium in every race since that near-win in Canada…