Vettel puts last lap F1 crash with Raikkonen down to ‘misunderstanding’

Sebastian Vettel called his last lap crash with Kimi Raikkonen in the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix a “misunderstanding”, but felt Aston Martin lacked the pace for points anyway.

Vettel qualified eighth on Saturday before dropping back three places on the grid after being penalised for impeding Fernando Alonso at the end of Q2.

While Vettel managed to move back up to eighth after the early safety car period, starting on softs meant he was always set for a two-stop strategy that would sacrifice track position later on. Vettel dropped back to 14th after completing his final pitstop, but he was able to catch up with George Russell and Kimi Raikkonen in 11th and 12th entering the last couple of laps.

But Vettel and Raikkonen collided on the final lap as they went side-by-side exiting Turn 5, causing the Aston Martin driver to spear sideways into the gravel and out of the race. He was ultimately classified 17th.

The stewards deemed Raikkonen to have caused the crash by shutting the door on Vettel, handing him a 20-second penalty as a result, but the four-time world champion did not look to dwell on the incident post-race.

“I think there must have been a misunderstanding,” Vettel said. “I don't know, I thought I was on the inside and thought I was ahead. But I don't know, I need to have a look. I need to speak to Kimi but I think it must've been a misunderstanding.”

Speaking about his race, Vettel lamented getting stuck in a train behind Yuki Tsunoda early on, but was happy with how his car had felt despite lacking the outright pace for points.

“I was stuck in traffic so it was not great, and then the medium runners at some stage went faster,” Vettel said. “I didn't think it was that bad, inside the car it felt OK.

“The balance was OK, but I guess we didn't have the speed to fight for points.”

Raikkonen crossed the line 16th in Austria, but ended up gaining a position after Williams’ Nicholas Latifi received a larger time penalty for failing to slow for the double-waved yellow flags sparked by the crash with Vettel.

Raikkonen had been chasing Russell for 11th after a long first stint on hards gave him a fresh set of mediums for the closing stages.

“Obviously the car behaved pretty well, but we’re just a little bit too slow,” Raikkonen said. “We caught up again, but it was not an ideal ending. But in the end, it didn’t really change [anything]. We were out of the points.

“I have to see [the incident]. He turned because of that left [rear touch], and off we went. But yeah. I need to see it.”

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