Vettel rues “tricky race” after clash with Ocon earns him penalty

Sebastian Vettel’s Aston debut in Bahrain went from bad to worse after he ran into the back of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine on lap 45 and was handed a race penalty by the stewards.

Having been given a grid place penalty the morning of the race for failing to respect double-waved yellow flags in qualifying, Vettel’s day was already off to a bad start.

After initially managing to make up some places at the beginning of the race, his bad luck struck again when he came up against Ocon.

The Aston Martin and Alpine cars tangled at turn one and caused both to spin off the track. Despite both cars managing to continue in the race, Vettel had sustained damage to his front wing from which he struggled to recover.

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The four-time World Champion initially complained on his radio that Ocon had changed his line under braking but the stewards saw things differently and handed down a 10 second time penalty.

Speaking to Sky F1 after the race, Vettel was understandably downbeat: “It’s been a tricky race.

“Initially it looked like it wasn’t that bad but towards the end I was struggling quite a lot with tyres so I don’t think we could have realistically scored points today.

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“I was trying to cut back to the left but Esteban was moving left as well and when I was right behind him I locked the fronts and hit him straight on so obviously that was not great for both of our races.”

With Vettel finishing 15th and his teammate, Lance Stroll, finishing 10th, Aston Martin only took home one championship point from a weekend they would have been hoping for more from.

Ocon ended the race in 13th; a poor day for Alpine with their other driver, Fernando Alonso, having to retire due to issues with his brakes.