Verstappen accepts blame for collision with Vettel

Verstappen accepts blame for collision with Vettel

Verstappen accepts blame for collision with Vettel

Vettel clocked 1min 31.095sec at the Shanghai International Circuit in final qualifying on Saturday ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

The incident comes just a week after his controversial contact with Hamilton during the Bahrain Grand Prix, one which caused a puncture that put him out of the race. "We started the weekend positively in practice, but the auto went away from us today, the pace just wasn't there".

"We are only two races in, but I arrived here thinking I want to win the next 19", Hamilton said.

Ferrari again looked the like the pace-setters at the start of the season's third race, with Vettel and Raikkonen locking out the front row in qualifying for the second time in a row. I knew I had a little bit more and obviously in the last lap I got it all together.

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"Ferrari were just way too quick", said Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who was fifth fastest but a hefty 0.701 seconds off Vettel's pace.

Verstappen - on fresher tires - ambitiously attempted to go down the inside of championship leader Vettel at Turn 14, hitting the German, who finished the race down in eighth with a damaged sidepod.

"The race was going pretty well for us and we were looking strong all the way, until the guys, during the Safety Car, stopped and we were in trouble then with Daniel and almost with Kimi [Raikkonen] in the end", Bottas said. The pace just wasn't there, he said.

"We start fourth and I'm going to have to fight from there".

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Despite a lacklustre start to the season, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff rejected the notion that his team's dominance was ending after four straight world titles.

It looked like the win would be decided between Mercedes and Ferrari once again, until the safety auto handed a strong advantage to Red Bull, whose drivers started cutting through the front-runners at a frantic pace in the closing stages of the race. "The amusing thing about being outperformed on Saturday is that you are the lion that is just waiting to jump on its prey".

While Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo made a succession of moves with surgical precision to take the victory, Verstappen's attempts were much the opposite.

Mechanics were seen frantically snapping major pieces of the car's body back into place as the clock ticked down, and the Australian driver tore out onto the track with only about a minute to spare. I was very happy with the settings I had from the beginning. I think we could have done it, but this is racing, these things happen. "That will be fun".

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Sebastian Vettel boasts a ideal record from the opening two rubbers, and holds a 17-point lead over the Briton.

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