Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Verstappen accepts blame for collision with Vettel

Verstappen accepts blame for collision with Vettel

With the Mercedes leading until 11 laps from the end, Ricciardo still had to overtake Bottas on track for victory and the pair nearly collided at Turn 6, but the Finn says he only pushed his defense so far due to the pace differential between the two cars.

The forecast is for a warmer race today and that should be better suited to Hamilton's Mercedes vehicle, but the Briton, who will have the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo occupying his mirrors, fears he will be looking over his shoulder rather than hunting down Vettel. Vettel had built a lead of over 3 seconds over Bottas, until the Fin pitted on Lap 19 before Vettel. All four of the drivers on the front two rows used the soft compound tyre in Q2, meaning they will start the race on that set with the likely aim of a one-stop strategy. This is when the attention shifted towards Red Bull. He's done so many races. The young Red Bull driver collided with Vettel on Lap 44, with both cars rotating in the apex. The move turned out to be the game changer in the race today with Ricciardo finding incredible pace.

The incident earned Verstappen a 10-second penalty and meant he finished the race in fifth position.

On fresher tryes, Ricciardo charged through the pack and he took the lead on Lap 40 of 56 as he passed Bottas at Turn 4.

Kevin Magnussen was sixth for Haas, with the American outfit once again marking themselves out as the best-of-the-rest, ahead of Force India pair Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. Sirotkin was 0.223s clear of Williams teammate Lance Stroll who will start 18th after setting a time a tenth of a second clear of Charles Leclerc.

Vettel and Ferrari ended Mercedes' six year reign as pole sitters at the Shanghai International Circuit in dominant fashion by making it a Ferrari 1-2. Struggling in the middle-order, Vettel was passed by Alonso in a close overtake on the penultimate lap pushing the German to P8. "To be honest, I was expecting him to come earlier". The German is favorite to win his third race of the season and former F1 drivers' world champion Damon Hill believes the tide is turning.

But he arrived in Shanghai with an envious record, victor an unprecedented five times at a Chinese circuit that has long favoured Mercedes. According to oddsmakers at YouWager, Sebastian Vettel is the current favorite, as he is getting odds of -175 to win. He is a five-time victor and the defending champion of the Chinese GP.

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