Japanese GP: Sebastian Vettel says Lewis Hamilton clash unavoidable

Sebastian Vettel believes there was nothing he could do to avoid giving Lewis Hamilton a puncture in their first-lap clash in the Japanese Grand Prix

Japanese GP: Sebastian Vettel says Lewis Hamilton clash unavoidable

The Red Bull and Mercedes touched on the run from the startline at Suzuka.

Vettel escaped with minor wing damage and went on to win, while Hamilton's left rear tyre went down at the first corner and caused sufficient damage to force his retirement.

"I had a very poor start, right between Romain [Grosjean] and Lewis, and clipped the front wing a bit," said Vettel.

"Lewis had a puncture after that. I couldn't go anywhere."

Hamilton said the contact was so light that at first he had no idea it had happened.

"I went for the gap, I felt like I had a clear gap, and then I was going into Turn 1 and the rear tyre was down," he said. "I can't believe my luck.

"I had probably the best start I've had all year. It was such a good feeling on the out-laps, the car felt really good. Really disappointing.

"It's such a long week, and when you don't even see the first lap, it's so gutting."

Although Hamilton made it back to the pits and rejoined, he said his Mercedes was so badly damaged that continuing would have been futile.

"The floor was destroyed," he said. "I was two seconds down per lap. The car was pulling to the right."

shares
comments
Japanese GP: Fernando Alonso denies title fight still alive

Previous article

Japanese GP: Fernando Alonso denies title fight still alive

Next article

Japanese GP race quotes: Marussia

Japanese GP race quotes: Marussia
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Sebastian Vettel
Author Matt Beer
Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash Plus

Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash

George Russell and Valtteri Bottas' collision at Imola on Sunday prompted fury in the Formula 1 paddock. But Russell's carefully-worded heartfelt statement later, acknowledging that his initial response was wrong, proved the right move

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight Plus

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

Formula 1
Apr 21, 2021
How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021