Max Verstappen: Sebastian Vettel 'drove into the side of my car'

Max Verstappen feels Formula 1 rival Sebastian Vettel "drove into the side of my car" in their Japanese Grand Prix clash, which the Dutchman likened to their China collision

Max Verstappen: Sebastian Vettel 'drove into the side of my car'

Vettel challenged Verstappen for third down the inside of the Spoon left-hander after an early-race safety car restart, but it ended in a collision and sent the Ferrari driver spinning.

The incident was investigated by the stewards, with no further action taken, but Verstappen felt it was clear Vettel had been at fault.

"In that corner you cannot overtake," he said. "I even gave him space. But he understeered into my car."

When asked whether Vettel deserved a penalty for the move, Verstappen compared it to his ill-fated move on the German in the closing stages of April's Chinese GP - which spun both cars around and yielded a 10-second penalty for the Red Bull driver.

"I'm not the one who makes the rules otherwise a lot of penalties would have been avoided in F1, but I think it is a similar scenario to what I had in China with him," Verstappen said.

"Of course we didn't spin off the track [like in China], but he drove into the side of my car.

"He could have been a bit more careful."

Vettel was adamant Verstappen was fully to blame.

Verstappen's run-in with Vettel was set up by a previous incident with the German's Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The Raikkonen clash had been triggered by Verstappen locking his right front approaching the final chicane and missing the corner, skipping across the grass to return to the track.

Raikkonen tried to clear him round the outside of the second part of the chicane, only to be forced off by the rejoining Red Bull and fall behind Vettel. Verstappen was subsequently assessed a five-second time penalty.

Verstappen went on to finish third regardless, and when told by team principal Christian Horner after the race that he would not be "too popular with Ferrari and the Italians", he jovially replied: "That's not my problem, they were too aggressive."

He felt Raikkonen could have avoided their contact, saying "I totally don't agree" with the penalty.

"I locked up and I could easily have cut the track, [but] I made my best effort to get back on track," Verstappen argued.

"And he chose to go around the outside, he could have waited for me to understeer wide.

"So I don't know why I got a penalty. It is a bit stupid."

Valtteri Bottas ran off at the chicane in his later battle with Verstappen over second, prompting Verstappen to tell Sky Sports F1: "If I get a five-second penalty for that [Raikkonen incident] then next time I'll just cut the track and do it like Valtteri".

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Vettel: Verstappen completely to blame for F1 Japanese GP collision

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel , Jos Verstappen , Max Verstappen
Author Jonathan Noble
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