BUDAPEST, Hungary — Sebastian Vettel says he does not blame Valtteri Bottas for their collision in the closing stages of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Bottas and Vettel made contact as the Ferrari driver overtook the Mercedes for second position at Turn 2 and squeezed Bottas towards the apex. The contact damaged Bottas’ front wing and dropped him to fourth behind Kimi Raikkonen (before dropping to fifth at the finish), but despite the risk of a puncture Vettel emerged without damage.
“I got hit from behind but for him there was nowhere to go,” Vettel said. “When you’re so close, I don’t blame him, he had no grip and it’s difficult to stop the car. He locked up and we made contact.
“I realised I had a much better run, got the inside track out of Turn 1 so I was quite comfortable into Turn 2. I wanted to make sure I didn’t overshoot the braking. When I turned in, I felt the contact from behind, I saw he was there, I was lucky I could catch the car and lucky with the contact that I didn’t get a puncture. The car was fine until the end.”
Vettel only ended up behind Bottas in the final stint after a slow pit stop saw him rejoin the track behind the Mercedes. Had his strategy gone to plan he would have emerged from his tyre change in second place with the possibility of hunting down Lewis Hamilton in the lead, but he doubts a victory was on the cards.
“I think Lewis had a lot in hand in the final stint, so we could have probably caught him a bit, but not passed him,” he said. “It’s not the track to pass — you saw at the end I was a lot faster than Valtteri and initially I couldn’t make it.
“So I sat back and waited for the last 10 laps, and that’s when we did it. I think obviously if we come out ahead [after the pit stop], then the last stint is a lot more relaxed. That way I had to find a way past on a track that is nearly impossible to overtake.”