Vettel on near contact with Stroll: 'We could have done better'


Sebastian Vettel says teammate Lance Stroll and himself could have done a better job overall for their Aston Martin team in Saturday's Sprint in which the pair nearly crashed.

Vettel had attempted to get a run on Stroll on the exit of Turn 3 when the Canadian - in a move almost identical to the maneuver that led to his scary crash with Fernando Alonso in Austin - suddenly veered left to defend his position.

Vettel only avoided a dramatic collision with his teammate by putting half of his car on the grass.

"I don't think we made contact, it was close," Vettel told Sky Sports.

"I mean it's obviously split seconds. But I went to the inside, the gap closed and it was really tight. I went off the track, which was difficult to recover.

"I was stuck sitting on the plank, but fortunately I got back. After we were able to work together and I was able to use the pace that I had."

Vettel admitted that Stroll's first instinct in the heat of the moment had been to protect his individual position.

But in hindsight he lamented that Stroll and himself hadn't played the team game and collaborated to secure a better result for Aston Martin.

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"It's a fine line, you are fighting for your spot," he said. "Obviously it's important to defend.

"On the other hand it's always trying to weigh, are you losing more than you gain? Plus we are trying to work together.

"So I think today, in the end, we could have done better, both of us, to try and get a better positioning for both for the team – and not losing that much time and then finishing a little higher up."

On the other side of the Aston garage, Stroll, who was handed a 10-second penalty by the stewards for dangerous driving as well as three penalty points on his Superlicence, said that he wasn't aware of how far he had pushed his teammate off the track.

"I have to look at it again," he told Sky Sports. "I haven't seen the video, so probably I didn't leave enough space."

Although Vettel missed out on scoring a point by finishing P9 while Stroll was classified 16th, the four-time world champion was optimistic on his chances of scoring a top-ten finish in his penultimate F1 race on Sunday.

"Pierre [Gasly] we got today, Kevin [Magnussen] is obviously ahead of us tomorrow, but it's going to be a different discipline," said the German.

"It’s a long race, but the pace in the race looked okay, looking after tyres was fine. So hopefully we have a similar chance tomorrow."

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