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Vettel denies pressure caused Bahrain error

NEWS STORY
01/04/2019

Other than the fact that his spin, and subsequent need to pit, cost him valuable world championship points, had Sebastian Vettel not made an unforced error while battling Lewis Hamilton on the 37th lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix, the German would have been best placed to benefit from his teammate's subsequent engine issue, and would probably have won the race.

However, as was the case so many times in the latter half of last season, while battling wheel-to-wheel with a rival, an error saw the German lose his car and spin. In this case, such was the damage to his tyres that the resultant flat-spot caused a vibration which in turn caused his front wing to fall off, meaning that by the time he had pitted and rejoined the race he was in ninth.

Though the German takes full responsibility for the spin, he insists he did not crack under pressure.

"Sorry guys, my mistake, I got surprised and lost the rear, then I couldn't catch it anymore," he subsequently told his team over the radio.

"Really sorry... and not sure about what I saw on TV, but I'm really sorry for Charles," he added. "Please tell Charles that he drove an excellent race, very strong and he should have won it."

Speaking after the race, he told reporters, "To be honest, I don't think it has anything to do with pressure. Obviously, when I was fighting with Lewis, the target was to stay ahead and that was the ambition.

"I got surprised when I lost the rear that suddenly," he continued, "and then when I was in the spin it was already too late. I had a look at it again, certainly it was my mistake and I need to digest that our race could have been a bit better without that spin at that time, but nevertheless it was difficult race and there is plenty of homework on my side this weekend not having the feel for the car, especially yesterday and today, so we need to have a good look.

"From a team's point of view it was a good step forward from two weeks ago," he added. "Plenty of reason to look forward, and generally I am looking forward.

"Certainly, I am not happy today and I won't be happy tonight," he admitted, "but I am quite happy to get in the car for Wednesday for the test and there is quite a lot of things I would like to try."

"It was a mistake and I don't think we should discuss about mistakes," said team boss Mattia Binotto. "We are always in the battle and in the fight, that is what we are doing and it is never easy."

"I think at the end it is something that can always happen," he added. "I think we need to encourage our drivers, because it is only by driving to the limit that they achieve the best result and that is what Seb was trying to do.

"As he said, there is some homework on the balance to improve, we are still learning about our car and we have some days of testing next week and that will be useful for the preparation ahead of China. So I think all good in that respect and we will keep focus on that and hope to improve."

Following an unforced error in Germany last year, which saw him go off track while leading, Vettel subsequently made a number of further errors which were to end his title hopes.

Most of the errors came as he battled rivals wheel-to-wheel, often unnecessarily early in the race. Such was the similarity of a number of the incidents Vettel suggested that it was not an error, but a phenomena of the Ferrari while in wheel-to-wheel combat, the four-time champion suggesting some kind of black hole.

Much as we like the German, we still believe Ferrari missed a trick by not retaining Kimi Raikkonen as teammate and mentor to Leclerc, the Finn currently 'best of the rest' following points finishes in both the opening races.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Sakhir, here.

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1. Posted by GarH, 01/04/2019 10:09

"Given Vettel's history, the next 'mistake' will probably end up with him taking out another car, because he knows he'll get away with it."

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