M ax Verstappen does not get out of the headlines. After fighting with Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain, first on and later off the track, the Dutchman clashed with Sebastian Vettel on the 42nd lap of the Chinese GP. With fresher tires, the Red Bull driver launched an attack at the end of the long straight. But there was a collision at the apex.
Both pilots turned and lost a few places. While the Red Bull survived the contact undamaged, the Ferrari with a demolished underbody and burned tires then lost a lot of pace. First Nico Hulkenberg passed by in the Renault. In the last lap, McLaren driver Fernando Alonso also conceded the battered German.
Verstappen is looking for a conversation with Vettel
The question of guilt seemed relatively clear. However, Verstappen initially complained over the radio that Vettel had slammed the door on him. But the FIA commissioners blamed the youngster and issued a 10-second penalty. Thanks to a furious final phase, the Dutchman fought his way up to 5th place.
After the race, many expected a heated duel, but Verstappen was unusually friendly. 'That was my fault. I apologize for that. I saw a gap and started the attack. But then my tires locked for a moment and we touched. Something like this has happened to every racing driver. We can talk about it normally. ”
In the Parc Fermé, the 20-year-old went straight to Vettel and asked for his forgiveness. “I thought it was good that he came straight away and admitted the mistake. That's how you have to do it. He hasbrakes, that can always happen. It wasn't easy with the tailwind on the straight. The conditions changed during the race. Luckily we both were able to continue ”, Vettel was conciliatory.
Third mistake in third race
After Hamilton's criticism in Bahrain, Verstappen naturally had to put up with the question of whether he was too boisterous. In Australia the youngster had lost places with a spin, in Bahrain he was out after the duel with Hamilton and in China he made a mistake in addition to the unsuccessful attack on Vettel also in the attack on Hamilton not that it's a question of age, ”says Verstappen. 'But I have to think again about the scenes and analyze everything'. Team boss Horner expects his pilot to draw the right conclusions: “He's still young and still has to learn. But this race had some lessons ready from which he will learn his lessons. '
Verstappen was lucky that Vettel did not add fuel to the fire:' He could have damaged the car during the maneuver . Actually, I didn't want to defend myself at all. I saw with Daniel (Ricciardo) how fast the Red Bulls were. But he must have made a small mistake and lost a few meters at the beginning of the long straight. In the end I didn't expect an attack at all. '
' I told him after the race: The races are long. And you threw away your podium here today. That was just unnecessary. I think he also understood that he screwed up there. It's not a question of age either. He's already had a few races under his belt. In such situations he has to be a little more patient, otherwise it happens more often. ”