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Vettel says he ‘couldn’t avoid’ Ocon as he apologises for hitting Frenchman

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Sebastian Vettel’s maiden weekend for Aston Martin will go down as one to forget, with the German enduring a difficult Bahrain Grand Prix that saw him finish a distant P15 after a tangle with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

Vettel entered the race already on the back foot, having been dumped out of qualifying in Q1 and then enduring further pain when his P18 on the grid was revised to P20 after he was penalised for breaking yellow flag rules.

READ MORE: Hamilton wins epic season opener by just 0.7s after thrilling battle with Verstappen in Bahrain

He did make rapid progress at the start, moving to P14 by the end of lap 1, but the decision to run a full 24 laps in his opening stint ultimately hurt him – with the Ocon incident at Turn 1, for which he earned a 10-second penalty for causing a collision, dropping him behind George Russell’s Williams.

Asked if it was as difficult an afternoon as it looked, Vettel said: “It was. We had a good first lap, but then we decided to do something different on strategy, which I don’t think paid off in the end but we had to do it.”

On the Ocon incident, Vettel added: “I was sure he was leaving me space on the left but then he crossed back and as soon as I was behind him I locked up and couldn’t avoid hitting him.”

Ocon, who finished P13, later confirmed Vettel had immediately apologised to him after the race.

Vettel 'couldn't avoid' Ocon crash in Bahrain GP

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