A disappointed Sebastian Vettel has admitted his spin while battling Lewis Hamilton was entirely driver error, the mistake likely costing him a shot at victory in the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Vettel stole the lead from team-mate Charles Leclerc at the start of the race, only to lose it again a handful of laps later. The four-time world champion would then drop behind Hamilton through the first phase of pit-stops.
Vettel would reclaim the position and the pair renewed their battle for second later in the race, with Hamilton passing Vettel around the outside at turn four. In an attempt to hold the position, Vettel spun, flat spotting all four tyres, the vibration from which would later destroy his front wing.
Vettel admits the spin was driver error and with team-mate Leclerc suffering from mechanical misfortune late in the race, the mistake likely cost Vettel a podium finish as the German ultimately trailed home a distant fifth.
“Not the race we wanted,” said Vettel. “We started first and second and we didn’t finish there. A disappointing evening. I had a good start but already halfway through the first lap I realised that the car was extremely difficult to drive.
“I think Charles struggled less as he had no difficulties in passing me. It was quite tough out there. Then we lost P2 at the pit-stop but came back.
“In the second stint on the medium tyres maybe it was a bit better but overall we didn’t have the pace we should have had today.
“While battling with Lewis I made a mistake at turn 4, which is one of the trickiest corners on the track. I suddenly lost the car and I spun. In doing so, I damaged the tyres so much that I had quite a lot of vibrations, which eventually led to the failure of the front wing.”
Further disappointment came for Scuderia Ferrari when Leclerc dropped from a dominant lead to third place at the finish. Vettel admits that the race belonged to his young team-mate.
“It was Charles’ race today, he got very unlucky. I am sorry for him and for the team”.