Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

'Thrown it away': Ferrari's Vettel blasted for costly blunder

'Thrown it away': Ferrari's Vettel blasted for costly blunder

Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix for Mercedes on Sunday to take a 67 point lead in the Formula One championship and stand on the brink of a fifth title.

The German recovered to finish sixth after spinning to the back of the field when he collided with Red Bull's Max Verstappen trying an ambitious move for third place into the hard Spoon Curve.

In order for Vettel to remain in the championship hunt, he'll need to finish in the Top 2 at the United States Grand Prix to keep his hopes alive. Even Dr. Helmut Marko of Red Bull admitted that Vettel lost the championship because of his own blunders. The gap was there, but as soon as he saw me, he defended, but I had the inside.

Hamilton will become a 5 times world champion and Vettel and Ferrari will have till March, 2019 to figure out what went wrong.

Despite the mistakes and a heavy points loss in both championships, Vettel said that seeing the team work was "inspirational" and claims the team doesn't have much to lose now with four races to go. "I made the corner and then he didn't give enough room and we touched".

Vettel fought back to sixth, but for Hamilton, there were no such concerns as he marched towards his ninth win of the year, and crossed the line 12.9 seconds clear of Bottas.

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".

When the safety vehicle went back to the pits, Vettel attacked Verstappen for third but ended up carrying too much speed and made light contact with the Red Bull. Verstappen was subsequently assessed a five-second time penalty.

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Vettel, who had an early collision in the race finished 6th after Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen.

Race stewards took no action against either driver.

"I was pushing to get past". This year has been more of the same, with Vettel unable to make his partnership with Ferrari tick despite the F1 heavyweights repeatedly putting their faith in him.

"For me, the gap was there - otherwise I wouldn't do it", Vettel added.

Hamilton was untroubled from pole position and took the chequered flag at the end of the 53 laps on the Suzuka circuit ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Wolff said, "We haven't won any of this year but I think it's important to reinvent yourself and set new objectives and there is always the risk for complacency, the risk that you are running out of targets so we are setting ourselves ambitious targets". For the brilliance of Hamilton across the year and the increasingly frequent mistakes made by Vettel, the tactical brains outside of the cars have a couple of times changed the shape of the race.

"So I don't know why I got a penalty".

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