Sebastian Vettel says it was his error when fighting Lewis Hamilton that caused him to spin and had the knock-on impact of damaging his front wing in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton was overtaking Vettel around the outside at Turn 4 when the Ferrari spun, damaging his tires. Vettel radioed his team to say he needed to pit but then suffered a front wing failure on the back straight, further compromising his race as he finished fifth.
“Obviously it was very close — I tried to get back on the inside just like the lap before, but I think Turn 4 was one of the trickiest corners,” Vettel said. “It was my mistake — I lost the rear and then I spun. I think during the spin I damaged the tires so much I had quite a lot of vibrations, which then I think led onto the failure of the front wing.
“(The wind) probably didn’t help; it was turning into a tailwind in that corner the whole race. I don’t know. Maybe the fact that he was just ahead sheltered some…. But I lost the car very suddenly and once I spun it was then obviously too late.”
Vettel actually led in the opening laps (pictured) but saw teammate Charles Leclerc overtake him and then lost out to Hamilton, and the German says his car was tough to drive in windy conditions in Bahrain.
“It was very difficult. I realized more or less half a lap after the start that it would be very difficult and the car was extremely difficult to drive for me. I think Charles struggled less and he had no difficulty to follow and pass me. It was quite tricky and the second stint I think calmed down a little bit with the medium tires, but overall not the pace we should have had today, I believe.”
Leclerc’s subsequent reliability issue that cost the other Ferrari victory capped off a frustrating day for the team, after it dominated all three practice sessions and locked out the front row in qualifying.
“For sure not the race we wanted — we started first and second and we didn’t finish there, so a disappointing evening,” said Vettel. “I don’t know what happened to Charles; I think he got very unlucky because it was his race, so can’t be happy with the result.”