Vettel apologises for Button crash

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel apologised for taking Jenson Button out of the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver lost control of his car while trying to pass the McLaren and crashed into Button’s sidepod. Button had to retire immediately afterwards.

Vettel said he didn’t mean to hit Button:

I’m sorry, obviously it was not my intention to destroy his race or mine.

I was close – I was faster than him and I knew it would be close with Robert behind us.

I tried to outbrake him on the outside. When I changed from the inside to the outside I lost it under braking over the bump and crashed into him.

That meant the end of my race and also the end of his race.
Sebastien Vettel

Vettel was handed a drive-through penalty for causing an avoidable accident. Afterwards he had another collision with Vitantonio Liuzzi. He said:

The car wasn’t perfect after the incident with Jenson. Then we went out again, I had the penalty, and looking back, with the rain, in the end we could have got decent points.

Unfortunately with Vitantonio, I was already passed him and he destroyed my left rear tyre. I had a puncture and had to drive all the way to come back into the pits.
Sebastien Vettel

Vettel eventually finished 15th, out of the points.

2010 Belgian Grand Prix

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99 comments on “Vettel apologises for Button crash”

  1. Another hot-headed move by Vettel, he needs to calm down.

    Liuzzi should have given up the place earlier and he’d have still got points. That was Liuzzi’s fault.

    But Vettel didn’t deserve any points today.

    1. Not sure Liuzzi was really to blame for that. Vettel just closed the door too fast.

    2. I disagree… I think this is not about calm down. He just needs to THINK. I consider him just a little stupid or less inteligent, don’t know how to call it, don’t know his IQ but it seems to be low.

      He does lots of stupid things like racing FI just before going for drive-through penalty.
      What for? Risking and destroying tyres?

      1. Errr, he made a driving error…

        Most drivers don’t have the intellectual capacity to think “hmmm, if i try to move to the left, I may hit a bump, and due to the wet track be unable to slow the car down.” before they actually have to make the decision…

        It was a stupid mistake… But it’s not because he didn’t think. Clam down is more appropriate. Don’t forget, Button won’t make it easy to pass, so Vettel at some point or another was going to have to indulge in a little risk. He just isn’t good at picking his moments yet.

    3. I dont think its that Vettel cannot overtake full stop, its that he assumes that he has taken the place when he actually hasnt, therefore assuming the racing line and cutting the car up/crashing.

      The incident with Button was a pure and simple freak, it was an aviodable accident and therefore needed a penalty, but I dont think he was trying to overtake Button by that point

  2. It was a racing incident nothing more nothing less, vettel was clearly being held up by button and that was really the only place where he could attempt a pass, he couldn’t get close after au rouge down the straight. I feel pretty sorry for vettel, what do people want? Racing or single file action?

    1. Racing, instead of silly moving around, actually. Just going for it to crash isn’t it.

    2. I’d say that his attempt was a tad overoptimistic… Yes, it wasn’t entirely his fault, he lost the rear, but if I were him, I’d remember Turkey. It seems he didn’t.

    3. How can you feel sorry for Vettel?
      That was his mistake , alright? What did Button do wrong? He tried to cope with a damaged front wing, managed to grab 3 places up the grid and was harpooned by Mr “I need to learn how to overtake” Vettel…

      1. One second we are all moaning because of the lack of overtaking, and then the second some one actually tries to overtake, we throw stones at them.

        In every overtaking manoeuvre there is a risk that you will crash out. Add rain (he didn’t even know it was there until he crashed) to the mix and the risk multiplies. He couldn’t pass on the straight, so he HAD to pass at that corner. He also could not simply sit behind button the entire race, because then you guys would be blaming him never taking risks.

        Sure if there as no rain and he randomly crashed into the back of button, I too would be bashing at him, but this is just one of those times where if I looked at it, and ask myself what I would have done in that situation, I too would go to the left, which would have had the same (crashing) result due to the loss of rear traction.

        1. You would’ve gone to the left far FAR earlier, though. Vettel even moved to the right just before the braking zone.

          The key thing for me is that he hit him in the braking zone. Button did nothing, he didn’t move, he just held his line and Vettel ran into him before the corner. That shouldn’t happen in Formula 1.

          1. Yeah, Because drivers should know better than that. But he made a mistake, clearly it was a mistake. So why punish him for an error?

            Think back to qually when Petrov got it wrong, theoretically, if Webber was next to him at the time, and got hit by the out of control Petrov.

            Do you think Petrov should have been penalised?

        2. It looked like a crash you’d have in a video game at first, but if you watch the onboard from Vettel’s car you’ll see he didn’t actually swerve all that abruptly when he lost control. Watch his hand movements carefully and observe that at the point at which the car snapped into a wild slide, he didn’t actually move the steering wheel quickly or sharply at all.

          I am beginning to think he locked the rears or lost control simply due to the bump in the racetrack. Of course, it was compounded by the damp patch on the track that caught the entire field out on lap one.

          1. “Of course, it was compounded by the damp patch on the track that caught the entire field out on lap one”

            Button said that part of the track was bone dry when Vet crashed into him.

    4. DAMON, could you please change your nickname?
      I am the Damon of this site. I’ve been using this nickname here since february of 2008.

      1. I suppose you beat me but my name is Damon Smedley and I have used “damonsmedley” (which is simply my name) for as long as I can remember on all websites of which I am a member. Surely people wouldn’t confuse those two nicknames?

        1. Ian@Finchale
          30th August 2010, 4:12

          Stand your ground man.

  3. And people complain about Schumacher…

    1. EXACTLY !!!!Michael gets the full 10 Grid demotion.

    2. exactly lol Schumacher get’s a 10 place grid penalty for not causing an accident. Vettel gets only a drive thru. But maybe stewards will give him an extra later today…

      1. Vettel’s crash put Button out of the race.

        If Barrichello had hit that wall, we could’ve had people in hospital.

        1. Or in the morgue…

          1. Yeah but RedGreen, if we went into detail about the amount of times people have almost died… well.. I don’t think that’s a fair argument.

      2. Schumacher got the penalty for intentionally squeezing Rubens into the wall. Vettel just lost control due to his inabilities as a racing driver. There is a difference.

        1. I agree, I think people often miss that intent is half the crime…

  4. He really can’t overtake can he! How many times has Vettel crashed at overtaking…

  5. I think we now can hand Vettle this title: The Most Dangerous Driver of The Year

    WDC? Don’t even think about it – does it ring a bell to you boy?

  6. Well guys what do you want him to do? He might not have had the chance to pass again. Jenson was being super defensive and it was virtually impossible to overtake anywhere else on the circuit. It was a racing incident, pity for jenson but that’s life!

    1. How about – back off when he saw that the inside was covered, instead of swerving hard to the other side on a slippery track?

      The move was never going to come off, even if he hadn’t lost control; as a top class racing driver, that’s what he should have known.

      I’m sure he’ll learn from the mistake though. It’s not like he’s the only driver to ever make mistakes over-taking.

      1. Wrong. The outside line soon becomes the inside line when you turn left onto the straight. We saw Alonso completing similar moves there throughout the race.

        You cant blame Vettel for the effect the (unforeseen) rain had on his rear tires. I’m not sure if you have driven around that track, but that corner is extremely bumpy. As you practice you learn where the bumps are and how to negotiate between them. Luckily I’ve never had to race there during the wet, because bumps (which create lakes) mixed with rain, in a very tricky braking zone will always equal in disaster if you are not taking your perfect line.

        1. Yes you can blame him. He knew it had started to rain and he still steamed in. So yes, he can and should be blamed.

          1. The guy in front didn’t exactly cruise in…
            I could be wrong, but he isn’t the only one who gets as close as possible when he’s trying to pass.

    2. Start THINKING! :) just start thinking and will be ok :)

      1. i meant i want vettel to start thinking :)

  7. He really cannot overtake can he? Does anyone know how many clean overtakes he’s had vs. how many times he bangs into someone?
    He’s probably done Lewis a favour as think McLaren might favour Hamilton from now on if Button doesn’t score big at Monza.

  8. Charles Carroll
    29th August 2010, 15:29

    Meh, it was slick and he made a gutsy move. In the end, the gamble didn’t pay off.

    Please do not act as if Lewis, Jensen, Mark, Alonso, or anyone else would not have tried the same and failed 9 times out of 10, just like Vettel. This is racing. Try not to over-analyze.

    1. Alonso has certainly failed many times this season, taking wings and receiving punctures. On the other hand, the other drivers have been pretty good with their overtaking this year.

  9. If he can’t overtake cleanly, then he shouldn’t overtake. He fired up his car too close to the car in front and too close to the bend. He should have pulled out early and left time to make the bend. Like he said, he was faster. Then it shouldn’t be a problem overtaking.

    1. “Then it shouldn’t be a problem overtaking.”

      You are watching the same aerodynamically handicapped F1 I am right?

  10. Back off? That’s ok for someone who watches the race sat on the couch. Vettell is a RACING DRIVER he is on the limit and he knew it was a great opportunity to make a pass, unfortunatly it went wrong but that’s racing. Would senna or schumacer have backed off when they were young and hungry? I doubt it very much

    1. Being a racing driver doesn’t mean you keep going at full pelt no matter what. It is surely just as important to know when to go for it and when to bide your time.

      Vettel got it wrong on this occasion; being a “young driver” doesn’t change that fact. What other young drivers would have done is also beside the point; it’s an avoidable mistake, whoever made it.

      Given the tricky conditions, I think a drive-through was a fair enough punishment.

    2. Guilherme Teixeira
      29th August 2010, 15:57

      I agree fully with you.

      I really hate acusing people of bias, but when Hamilton crashed all by himself at Monza last year he was “the hero who was pushing until the end”. For me it was just as silly as Vettel’s crash (and to some extent even more silly, because it was dry at Monza).

      His only chance of overtaking would be at Bus Stop and he took the risk. Every driver must take the risk. If he didn’t, people would complain that he can’t overtake. Now he tried to pull a ballsy move on the outside and unfortunately crashed and took Button out, but that’s the way racing is. At the very same track last year there were 4 drivers out of the race at Les Combes because of someone who triggered an “avoidable collision”, yet I don’t see anyone complaing how stupid that was – hell, there wasn’t even a punishment for any of them!

      Please, I’m not here to justify him or ease him for his mistake, but please people, you want to see racing, overtakings and action or a single file of cars following each other for 306 kilometres?

      1. Lewis didn’t take anyone out but himself. There’s a way to overtake. It’s not about him trying because that is commendable, we want people to try but they have to try but also smart. Vettel was not smart.

      2. Guilherme, well, as a big fan of overtaking myself, I’d therefire rather see Button left in the race, since he’s proven he *can* overtake, unlike Vettel.

        I’ve been watching the replay and inboards of Vettel losing it, and nothing has removed my initial suspicion that the way he ploughed into Button was ‘strange’ indeed, as Button said. These events are obviously micro decisions made in micro seconds, but Vettel this season has consistently shown a tendency to (try to) drive his rivals off the track in fairly wild fashion.

        1. “If he didn’t, people would complain that he can’t overtake.”

          And how’s that different from what they say about him now?

    3. Calling Vettel, a racing driver is a little thin……Try wrecking derby driver..yeah, that’s it!
      He will kill someone one of these days!

  11. ……”Vettel crahes his opponents car while overtaking”…… Sounds kinda familiar……

    The only difference here was the fact that he took Buttons chance of earning some really important points ( or even a win) while he still could have made some points afterwards(the fact that he didnt was alone his fault!)
    And now both Jensen and him are out of the race for the championship( i know there are still races but come on…lets be realistic here…Ham and Webb are both superb drivers and the likelyhood of them not scoring in the upcomming races is rather small…well in case they dont happen to be stranded in front of Sebestian Vettel.. The only advice we can give them then is to look out for their lives…

    ..looking forward what Helmut Marko has to say about his “Wunderkind” now that Webber is 28 points ahead of Vettel…

    He is talented, i give him that but does talent alone make him a driver worth the championship?…No!…

    1. “……”Vettel crahes his opponents car while overtaking”…… Sounds kinda familiar……”

      No it doesn’t. The driver you’re thinking of occasionally crashes into Williams cars while DEFENDING. Spot the difference?

  12. Look at what Button said on the red button. It was “bone dry” there, he just must have thought i would suddenly move to the right and he would get past.

    That’s it for Vettel having trouble in the wet. A kid losing his temper.

    1. If Button’s right and it was actually dry then Vettel has no excuses. Every driver makes mistakes but Vettels happen too often, are careless and share similarities so you’d think he’d learn. He just made a stupid mistake today and seemed to try and correct it in the worst way. He didn’t have to turn into Button and he didn’t have to do the same in Turkey which leads me to believe what Jenson says in that he just expects the other driver to move. If he stops the mistakes and just thinks before he does things, he’ll be fine since he’s a promising driver. I’m pleased he had the courtesy to apologise though!

    2. Tell De le Rosa it was bone dry…

  13. Button about the Red Bull: “Horner says, their car isn’t any different, but … . It sure looks different in footage, maybe the grass is longer here, not sure?” Or something alike.

    I also think they did change something.

  14. I thought Vet was unlucky with Liu but in the wrong with Jense.

    Jense said it was bone dry so I absolutely cannot understand people comparing it to Rubens and Alo. Everyone went off with Rubens did and the conditions were tricky. Jense showed him what side to go, Seb moved the wrong side then stuffed up his braking. To be honest though, I did think this was actually less serious when he drove into Web (Turkey) and Lewis (Turkey and China).

  15. Come to think of it, maybe red bull racing are demonstrating the strength of their flexible wing. , where, it’s SO flexible till it can lift a car Off it’s path and into others people wing, wheels and radiators.

    Red bull , does give vettel wings to fly isn’t it.

  16. Karma is a wonderful thing – Liuzzi/Vettel makes up for Vettel/Button

    1. Well t drive through was supposed to make up for it :P

      1. … That’s a joke, Button got a raw deal, but that doesn’t justify a penalty.

    2. I loved the karma as well :)

  17. Another immature impetulent move by Vettel….first Webber in Button..who’s next? Mansell was a gr8 driver but a poor steward, the penalty should have been far more severe for Vettel..where’s the consistency? As for the move on Liuzzi, I felt he just shut the door far too early, so he got what he deserved…a puncture!

  18. Unfortunately Vettel’s learning curve is turning into a circle. If he does’nt settle down a bit and think first his overly need to pass at all costs attitude could end a very promising career.

  19. Vettel was pathetic today. That may seem harsh, but he seriously needs to stop getting into trouble.

    As for the incident with Button, I would have black flagged him.

  20. It was a race-incident, and no-one should have gotten a drivethrough penalty.

    The stewards should not do ANYTHING anymore without a complaint of a team.
    So, if something like this happens, just wait for McLaren to file a complaint.
    Just apply this to all ‘events’ on track and we’ll have more racing and interference.

    1. What Vettel did was unintensional, but he still caused an avoidable accident. That’s why he got the penalty.

      And if the rules were changed so you had to complain before race control did anything, then of course Button and other angry Mclaren employees would have filed the complaint and the same penalty would have been applied to Vettel.

      1. … Aren’t all crashes avoidable?

        I can understand a penalty if it was bad sportsmanship, like crashing into Button on purpose, but obviously it wasn’t on purpose.

  21. It was a racing incident. i had great respect for martin witmarsh. His comments today did not warrant that. and the stewards….penalize anyone who tries to overtake and make a mistake. already the races are procession.they are just helping to make sure it stays that way. i pity those stewards who can’t differentiate between intentional stuff and racing mistake. For god’s sake it is not a presidential cavalary.

    After 21 years of watching f1 races, i feel for the first time F1 is just loosing it. last week in Nascar in bristol montoya drove very similarly into Jimmie johnson. people just moved on. people or media did’nt talk much. that is the maturity of the stewards. it was a racing incident nothing more nothing less.

    It is not vettel who is immature, rather it is the FIA and stewards who needs maturity. For god sake this is not driving school or driver license test to penalize the drivers for mistake. I would’nt be surprised if tomorrow these guys penalize someone for going too fast on the main straight. with the comment “they have to be mature you know can’t make mistakes. This is F1 and it is not a sport”

    if F1 needs more fan following around the world. this defenitely does not help.

    “I surely miss Formula 1 of late 80s and 90s”

    Keith honestly don’t You ?

    1. I’m pretty sure the stewards know what Vettel did was unintentional. Vettel was penalised for causing an aviodable collision. If Vettel intended to hit Button, he would have recieved a much bigger penalty.

      1. SLR with due respect, Thankfully the dumb stewards knew atleast that it was not intentional, that is great progress from their side. Lets keep penalizing anyone for making mistakes….and F1 becomes a military driving school. You see every accident in F1 is avoidable if drivers decide not to race and get aggressive. And then maybe a new rule that there should not be any overtaking in F1 would eliminate completely all avoidable collisions.

        We all watch F1 because it is a thrilling sport, it pumps adrenaline, it is unpredictable and it reveals some risky unbelievable manouvers . if these manuvers are successful they are called a great passes and if it is not then don’t call it stupid and penalize. The whole point is not about vettel but about any driver and racing.

        1. All F1 fans, and I dare say the stewards too, want to see great over-taking. But everyone has a point at which they say “that move was too risky / reckless, it deserves a penalty”.

          At the end of the day, it just depends on where you draw that line. I don’t think penalising this incident will have an affect on drivers trying to pass each other in general – it was the manner in which it happened (darting one way, then the other in the braking zone, losing control as a result) that brought about a penalty, rather than the fact it was an attempted over-take.

          Having a different threshold to something like Nascar doesn’t make F1 any less of a sport either; there’s just a slightly different emphasis.

  22. Yeah Vettle made a mistake, so what? That’s race people. I don’t remember anyone complaining when Button took out Alonso at the first corner at the Australian GP.

    1. Because he is making a habit of it. That’s why people are talking.

      1. Vettle may be a spoiled brat, but penalising drivers who try to overtake will not do the sport any good.

        When he made his move he was very close to Button and the bus-stop chicane is a well-know overtaking point. It is true that he screwed up, and that’s sad for Button, ’cause he had a great start, but at least you have to give the guy credit for trying to overtake and not staying behind Button the whole race.

        The intention was good, but the execution was really poor indeed.

        1. I agree in part. But ask yourself this: was Kova’s penalty at Spa last year (or was it 2008..) justified when he drove into the side of Webber trying to overtake?

          I’m all for overtaking, but not reckless driving/weaving in the braking zones which is what I saw today.

    2. That was the first lap of the race – I think people expect incidents like that to happen.

  23. Vettel is clearly reckless. Note his swerve onto the grass when Kubica left him ample room. Straight after, the wunderkid gesticulates to Kubica in typical brat-like fashion.

    I used to like Vettel, but all these immature gestures (pit lane, Turkey, etc) have made me realise he is just a spoilt quick who is very quick, but cannot race.

  24. It seems like Vettel can’t overtake anything unless he crashes into someone

  25. Could easily have been another flying Red Bull a la Webber at Valencia

    1. Yeah but at least Webber fessed up and admitted he overestimated the braking ability of the Lotus.

  26. I think there’s a good justification for Vettel’s punishment: who it was he crashed into.

    As much as he put himself into the situation, the way he lost it meant Vettel deserved the benefit of a doubt over being penalised, because it might have been a freak incident (though from what Button said afterwards, it would be hard to blame it on the conditions; incidentally, this happened only a few races after Webber crashed into Kovalainen by weaving behind him, so there are grounds to call it dangerous driving). Plus, he wrecked his own race, which would normally be punishment enough.

    The problem is that he wrecked the race of a fellow championship rival. Vettel could easily have gone on to score points without the drive-through, and how would that have been fair on Button, who was entirely without fault?

    I don’t think that’s why the stewards gave him a penalty, but it’s why I would have.

  27. I think the penalty was too harsh, it was a racing incident, he misjudged the conditions.

  28. Plenty rookies there today in difficult conditions and in previous races haven’t made anything like as stupid a move as that.
    That made me literally gasp out loud and I’ve been watching F1 for 4 decades and watched some hairy maneuvers

  29. Truly and utterly useless.

  30. I’ll say it again for those that didn’t hear it the first time. Championship is between Webber & Hamilton and the sooner Vettel & Red Bull realise it the sooner Webber has a better chance at beating Hanilton to the flag. Vettel can’t be champion this year with all the impatient, agressive spoilt brat tactics he employs. Nobody wins championships with DNF’s & drive through penalties on a regular basis through the season.

  31. Simon, yes other drivers make overtaking mistakes, but not over and over again. Vettel surely is a dangerous driver to have behind you.
    Now little Sebastian, stand in the corner and repeat 10 times “I MUST LEARN HOW TO OVERTAKE SAFTELY”

  32. TMAX……make your mind up! first you say the race stewards were immature and then you say you admire and miss the drivers of the 80’s & 90’s.
    Well mate, have you ever heard of NIGEL MANSELL, one of the immature stewards you are blabbing about.

  33. As someone has already said, Vettel just expects that every driver will automatically move over for him, but why should they.

  34. I am worried by the growing trend that penalties are handed out based on the results of an incident, and not the action or inaction behind it…

  35. For all those ardent supporters of “Crash Vettel”……..He got what he deserved.

  36. Well how about Damon (1). and Damon (2). sort yourselves out on that.

  37. Normally Vettel cann’t continue his race after a heavy accident and then it was for after the race disscussion. I don’t think he would be penalised after the race but because he could drive on while Button was out he got a drive through as penaulty which is ofcourse to prevent OTHERS to ‘crash’ into your opponent and hope you can continue the race while your opponent is out. Demolision race anyone?

    Accidents happen but to prevent any advantage of it you get a penaulty (except when your out the race end of story)

    Not sure but there were times drivers would try to hit their opponents to get them out of the race. I think the eighties were famous of that.

  38. I think people hail the 80’s early 90’s too much in this respect, where as Macloed (above) puts it well, people would push other drivers to the edge and drive recklessly to get them out of the race. The obvious example would be Senna, who freely admitted to being a competitor to this extent. Surely it is not better now, where situations like this are acted upon and we stop comparing every rule now to being as worse as it once was through rose tinted spectacles?

    If Vettel had not got anything I think the reaction would have been a lot worse to the fact he didn’t get a penalty. The decisions in these incidents will always be criticised or disagreed with by someone, but that’s F1.

  39. What I have seen from the get-go with Vettel is a lack of foresight and racecraft that may end his racing career in F1. (He will probably end up as a test driver because hes very quick)Because there is a limit to how many broken cars and spoilt opportunities a team is willing to put up with no matter how quick they are. When an incident or accident does happen he never really takes responsibility for it because hes from the playstation generation where everyone else is to blame and should make way for him.
    I find it unfathomable where he thinks he can pop up inside or outside someone, slam the door on them and expects them to be able to avoid him, hes unpredictable and dangerous and its getting to the stage where his driving standards should be looked at before something more serious happens.

  40. Electrolite & MacLeod………..yes, you should ask Schumacher about that, he had a particular target called Hill ?

    1. Yes, another good example.

  41. Forr3st………don’t hold your breath mate, Vettel is still the ‘Blue eyed boy’ at Red Bull.

  42. Vettel should be a test driver at best. He is not a racing driver, as when he needs to overtake someone he invariably just crashes into them. I don`t think he has the brain capacity required to do what top F1 drivers do. And there is too much talk of “racing incidents”. When it is just one driver taking another driver out of the race through wreckless stupidity, they should be penalised heavily. If Button had taken Vettel out there would be uproar, Bernie, Helmut, Dietrich would all be up in arms.

  43. For those who critise Mansell for not Black Flagging Vettel.
    Mansell said that they did consider it , but did not have time to watch all the replays and then discuss it amongst the stewards, so they did the quickest thing thay could …….Drive through, fair enough i think.

  44. Forr3st………C’mon mate ! You are comparing chalk with cheese here. Webber is a racing driver with experience and a brain which he uses. Vettel is just a kid with a toy who is spoilt, daddy’s (Helmut)favourite and appears to have no brain at all when close racing.
    Yes he’s good when out in front and alone, but put other cars around him and LOOKOUT !

  45. It was a stupid move by Vettel for sure but let’s not make it into a “he can’t drive” issue… I seen video today of the crash and for the first time I seen the reaction of his front wing as he passed behind Button… I think the flexible front wing might have had something to do with him losing control..
    There’s a site that show’s both his and Webber’s crash and in both cases the front wing was wobbling badly… I’m sure that would cause a loss of downforce…

    1. The link looks crazy but it does work… :)

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