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Formula 1 Canadian GP

Verstappen "lucky" in Turn 1 incident - Vettel

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel felt Red Bull rival Max Verstappen was "lucky" to avoid a puncture at the start of the Canadian Grand Prix when the Dutchman "ran over our front wing".

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, a locked-up Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, the rest of the pack at the start

Vettel lined up second on the grid but was down to fourth at Turn 1, passed by Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas on the inside and Verstappen on the outside – with the Red Bull's right-rear wheel clipping off a piece of the Ferrari's front wing.

The damage was sufficient to force Vettel into an unscheduled stop later on, which left him in a recovery drive – as he climbed back up from 18th to eventually finish fourth.

Asked whether Verstappen's move was overly optimistic after the race, Vettel said: "I haven't seen from his point of view, but... obviously I wasn't expecting, I was focusing on Valtteri, I didn't really have anywhere to go because Lewis [Hamilton] was in front - so if I brake later, then I run into Lewis.

"And then Max, I think, took his chance on the outside and ran over our front wing.

"I don't think he did it on purpose because normally you get a puncture, so in that regard he was lucky that he didn't get one."

Verstappen's escape from the Turn 1 incident ended up counting for little, as a battery issue forced him to pull over when running second on lap 11.

"Should have spotted" damage earlier

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H

Vettel regretted that he and the team did not realise the extent of the front wing damage right away, meaning that he'd passed up the opportunity to have it changed during the early safety car period, triggered by the crash involving Carlos Sainz and Felipe Massa.

He explained: "The first lap of the race usually is quite messy because the tyres are cold, especially today was windy and so on. I felt something out of Turn 6, 7, and then there was a safety car.

"I asked to check and then behind the safety car, with the damage, was so slow that you couldn't really feel it."

Vettel said realised "straight away" that the damage was too severe after the race was restarted, and he had to come into the pits during green-flag running, losing more time than he would've in pitting under safety car.

"We should have spotted [the damage] and got a free pitstop. In the end we did it when everybody was back at the pace and we had to catch up for a couple of laps first."

Podium was on the cards

Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India VJM10, Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India VJM10 and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H battle

Vettel had an eventful race from that point on, fighting through the pack and eventually arriving at the back of a podium fight that featured Daniel Ricciardo and the two Force Indias.

He couldn't make find a way past initially but caught up with the group again after a late switch to ultrasofts.

The Ferrari driver dispatched Force India's Esteban Ocon with a Turn 1 dive on lap 66 and then eased past the Frenchman's teammate Perez on lap 68 at the chicane – but he believes he could've scored a podium finish if he'd made the overtakes sooner, having finished 0.6s off third-placed Ricciardo.

Talking about the Ocon move, he said: [It was] full risk, full on. I wanted to get past.

"They had a run at each other into Turn 13-14 and I focused on the exit, which was good - and I just, yeah, I committed halfway down the straight and I said 'I go down the inside no matter what'.

"And Esteban had a bit of a wobble and I reacted to that and it was really slippery on the inside, so was quite tricky, I just made Turn 1, but [it] was fine.

"I picked up a lot of dirt and I lost a little bit too much time on that lap because I thought I could go straight to move on to Sergio.

"But then I nearly lost the car, nearly went into the wall in Turn 4, because I slid and lost the rear, so I had to back off. Then I nearly lost it fighting back, I was late into Turn 8.

"I think [a podium] was there but, as I just touched on, we lost a bit too much time fighting through the Force Indias."

Additional reporting by Ben Anderson

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