The German was running fifth in the closing laps of a rain-hit race at Interlagos when the Red Bull ace came charging through and muscled his way past Vettel on the inside at Juncao, with the Ferrari driver running wide as a consequence.
Vettel immediately complained over his team radio that Verstappen ”pushed him off the track” but the Interlagos stewards elected not to investigate the incident.
“I think I was racing him side-by-side, he saw me, I still had a little bit of my nose ahead,” Vettel told TV crews after the race. “He was much faster so it was about the corner where you get past. I don’t think it was correct.”
In a wild, red-flagged contest, Vettel was nonetheless satisfied to come away with fifth place after a spin and botched pit stop had pushed him down the order early on.
“Obviously it was not ideal in the first part to spin,” added the four-time world champion, whose team-mate Kimi Raikkonen caused one of the two red flags when he crashed into the wall on the main straight.
“I had some aquaplaning but I wasn’t the only one. I think it was a good recovery in the end, difficult to come back. I struggled to get past Carlos, I don’t know why it took a lot of laps but by then it was too late.
“It could have been anything today. I wasn’t the only one to get caught out by the aquaplaning but luckily I didn’t crash.”