Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel has been slammed by the Italian media, following his opening lap incident at the French Grand Prix.
Vettel collided with Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s Valtteri Bottas at Turn 1 of the first lap, impacting both of their races. Vettel was able to recover and finish the race in fifth place, winning Driver of the Day in the process
However, the Italian media has criticised the German for his clash with Bottas, which resulted in Vettel losing the championship lead to Lewis Hamilton.
“Vettel committed an amateur error and this time the consequences are serious,” La Gazzetta dello Sport wrote.
“Despite its excellent car, for Ferrari it is once again a wasted opportunity.”
La Repubblica also added: “Vettel makes mistakes that he cannot afford if he wants to win another world title.”
An article by La Stampa wrote: “It was a great catch up drive, but also ten wasted points because of too much impulsiveness.”
Vettel’s comeback was impressive as he clawed his way back into the top five before the half way stage of the race, which begged the question over what could of been for Vettel, if didn’t have the incident.
The German only received a five second time penalty for the incident, with some felt he got away lightly and was able to still finish ahead of Bottas in the final classification.
Max Verstappen jokingly said to the media at the press conference at the French Grand Prix, saying that the media should tell Vettel to change his style of driving, a joke towards the media who have been critical of the Dutch driver following six incidents in the six opening races of 2018.
“I think next time you see Seb, maybe you should tell him to change his style, because honestly it’s not acceptable.” said Verstappen.
“That’s what they said to me in the beginning of the season so I think they should do the same. And of course, Seb shouldn’t do anything, and just drive again, and learn from this, and go on.”
Whilst most of the Italian and world media have been critical towards Vettel, title rival and French Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton said to Crash.net that he believes the calamity at Turn 1 was a racing incident.
“I’m not really going to get into that, I know what you are saying, but it is really a racing incident in Turn 1,” said Hamilton. “Those things can happen as we are all going into that corner at great speeds and it is not always easy.”
“I don’t feel he’s made any more mistakes. We’re all on the edge and fighting for world championships, we are not pootling around. We are putting our lives on the line.”
Vettel has now made five critical mistakes over the last 12 months that have heavily impacted his quest for a fifth world title. Baku, Singapore, Mexico, Baku (2018 race) and France have cost Vettel valuable points in the championship.
Whilst Ferrari may have the best car of 2018 so far according to some opinions, Vettel’s errors could be costly for the Italian team and with Hamilton’s clean record on track, could push Mercedes back in front and be favourite to win both titles once again.