Vettel apologise to Button but is slammed by Whitmarsh; Webber: Red Bull will soon have to choose; Tilke tips Korea to be ready on time
Sebastian Vettel has taken full responsibility for the accident which eliminated Jenson Button from the Belgian Grand Prix.
The German driver lost control of his RB6 as he tried to overtake the reigning world champion into the Bus Stop Chicane.
However, while the 23-year-old escaped with only a broken front wing, Button was eliminated on the spot – effectively dashing his title hopes.
“First of all, I’m sorry,” Vettel told television reporters. “Obviously it was not my intention to destroy his race or mine.
“I was close, I was faster than him. The moment Robert [Kubica] got close behind I knew that he could pass us on the straight because we are not the fastest on the straight. I was very close a couple of times, unfortunately never really close enough.
“I tried to out-brake him on the outside. When I changed from the inside to the outside, I lost the car under braking on the bump and then I then I couldn’t really control it anymore and unfortunately crashed into him.”
However, the German driver was later slammed by McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh who questioned the standard of his driving in Spa.
“It was not what you would expect to see in F1 – more reminiscent of junior formulae,” Whitmarsh is quoted as saying by Autosport. “A drive-through seemed a pretty light punishment to me.”
“It was a bit of a strange mistake I have to say. I realise it was not intentional but it was a pretty strange one really.
“If he was going for the inside he had three inches to sneak down there, so God knows what he thought he was doing. That was frustrating. But that is motor racing; we’ve got to move on now.”
He added: “He [Vettel] is a nice guy and he didn’t need to do it, but when you keep doing these things you have to reflect on what is on your mind on this occasion. It looked like he was trying to go for an inside gap where, as I said, there were a few inches. What he thought he was doing there, I don’t know. And he lost it. I would rather he did it with his team-mates rather than do it with us!”
Meanwhile, Vettel’s team-mate, Mark Webber, has hinted that Red Bull may have to choose which driver it will back in the final stages of the 2010 championship.
With his second place in Belgium, the Australian driver moved 28 points clear of Vettel and later suggested that his team would have to decide how best to defeat McLaren in the title battle.
“McLaren have won many championships and have a good trophy cabinet, Red Bull have a good trophy cabinet but not as good,” Webber is quoted by Autosport. “I think it depends on how hungry we are to try and do that.
“I think it is too early at the moment to say that [one driver should be prioritised], but maybe there is a different strategy compared to McLaren.
“It’s still too early at the moment but not too far away.”
Finally, F1 circuit designer Herman Tilke has attempted to allay fear over readiness of October’s Korean Grand Prix.
Latest photographs showed the circuit to be far from finished, with tarmac having not been laid on some areas.
However, despite poor weather having delayed construction work in recent months, Tilke believes that the race will take place as scheduled.
“The track is not finished yet, but it will be,” Tilke told Autosport. “It will be ready.
“Of course it is tight. But every circuit is tight. With every F1 circuit, the problem is always that the race date is there and if there is bad weather or other circumstances then we cannot delay.
“With a normal building, they can say that it will be finished now one week or two weeks later. We cannot do that with an F1 track. We cannot have it one week later.”