Vettel apologises to Alonso, blaming ‘queue jumpers’ for causing unintentional block in Q2
Fernando Alonso lamented that his Austrian Grand Prix weekend was over after an unintentional block by Sebastian Vettel saw him forced out of qualifying in 14th place. In response, the Aston Martin driver said there was little he could have done to avoid the situation, instead pointing the finger at other drivers who overtook him and slowed down where they shouldn’t have.
Vettel, who qualified eighth at the Red Bull Ring, said he was powerless to get out of Alonso’s way and reiterated that he’d followed FIA Race Director Michael Masi’s instruction on where to slow ahead of a quick lap, whereas others had ignored it.
The four-time champion was eventually penalised three grid places for the incident, which means he starts the Austrian GP in P11.
“We agreed yesterday that we slow down on the straight between [Turns] 8 and 9. I’m slowing down, everybody jumping the queue and they all slow down between 9 and 10 where we agreed not to slow down. So if I get a penalty we should all get a penalty!
“I don’t think I could have done anything differently – I checked the mirrors out of precaution but it’s blind. I saw Fernando coming last second but I basically cancelled my lap – I was too close, bad exit – just to get out of the way. I am really sorry for him, there is nothing he has done wrong, but don’t think there was much I could have done.”
Regardless of any possible penalty, Vettel said he was hopeful of a much better race than last weekend’s at the Red Bull Ring, where he started P14 and finished P12.
“Yeah, race pace last week I don’t think was bad – we were just in the wrong place,” said the four-time world champion. “Hopefully we have a good start, a good opening lap and then some clean air. Then I know what I have to do on the tyres. And also the tyres we’ve kept for the race should be good fun.”
Vettel's team mate Lance Stroll will now start the race in P9, giving Aston Martin a chance to salvage points in Austria.