Max Verstappen has defended Sebastian Vettel, following the crash which saw him crash out of the German GP and also lose the lead in the Championship.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver was nine seconds ahead of the rest of the field when he went off the track at the Sachs curve, resulting in a safety car period.
This allowed Vettel’s title rival, Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver Lewis Hamilton to capitalise and take the lead of the race as well as the Championship.
Verstappen stressed that conditions were difficult, and Vettel going off could have happened to anyone.
“It was super tricky out there. Especially in that corner.” said Verstappen.
Although rain had been predicted throughout the race, it didn’t materialise until late on.
Vettel’s crash at the Hockenheimring was not his first mistake of the season. In China, he was undercut by Hamilton’s team-mate Valterri Bottas during the first round of pit stops, and was hit by Verstappen, sending both into a spin. Vettel finished the race in eighth place.
Verstappen said that ideally the drivers want to minimise the amount of risk they are taking.
“You just try to find good grip everywhere, but you don’t want to take too many risks because you already have some good points in the bag.
“You don’t want to risk losing those by going off. Dealing with that risk is very difficult. If you lock up for just a moment, you fly off the track.”
Verstappen was one of the group of drivers who pitted for intermediate tyres, but had to change back to dry tyres two laps later as the conditions did not get any worse. The gap he had built to those behind him meant he didn’t lose position.
“It just didn’t go our way. Normally I pray for rain, but this time it didn’t help me. Fourth was the best possible.” said Verstappen.
“It really started to rain heavily. The rain spread towards Turns eight and ten, so I thought: if it continues like this, then it’s also going to come to the third sector. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”