Vettel on mad dash with Alonso: 'He was a bit aggressive'


Sebastian Vettel says Fernando Alonso was "a bit aggressive" when the pair indulged in a photo finish mad dash to the checkered flag out of the last corner on the final lap of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Alonso was on a tear in the final stages of the race at Suzuka after losing several spots in the wake of a late pitstop to take on a fresh set of intermediate tyres.

Vettel had fended off the Spaniard earlier in the race, but with five laps to go, Alonso's fresher rubber and pace advantage allowed the latter to overhaul the Williams of Nicholas Latifi and Mercedes' George Russell

He then set his sights on Vettel once again but came up short by just 0.011s as the two F1 veterans rushed past the checkered flag side by side as they battled for P6 (and credit for the superb photo finish here above goes to @FogboF on Twitter by the way).

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"Well, it was very, very close," Vettel said of his scrap with the Alpine charger. "He was a bit aggressive, I would say.

"But yeah, there was a bit of a confusion because I lost radio and I looked at the pit board, and I think race direction changed their mind of how long the race is going to go, and I didn't know.

"I think we got away with it."

On the opening lap of the Japanese Grand Prix, Vettel and Alonso were involved in a minor clash that sent the German off the track from where he recovered, resetting his race when the event resumed after its red flag period.

"We did touch," he explained. "I went to the left because he had a poor start, and I had a good start.

"Then I got a lot of wheel slip and some aquaplaning and sort of lost the car, and then touched, and lost the car entirely. But then we had a great recovery in the end."

Vettel's gains came as a result of his early switch to inters, along with Williams' Nicholas Latifi. It was a move that had been discussed with his team beforehand.

"Yeah, we spoke about it before," he said. "The team worked something out. And I obviously made the call judging the conditions, but it worked really well.

"Yeah, we dragged the car up to where it probably doesn't belong. Even splitting the Alpines, which are a lot faster than us. But we managed to hang in there, so I really enjoyed the weekend. And I love everything about this place."

The four-time F1 world champion who will leave the grid at the end of the season admitted to being sad to have raced at Suzuka in F1 for the last time.

"I feel sad to have driven my last race here, but it has been a wonderful weekend, and to all the fantastic Suzuka fans I can only say, ‘Thank you’."

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