Russian Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel admits he didn't see Lewis Hamilton in rear-view mirrors during mid-race battle
Sebastian Vettel was accused of performing a double-defensive move by Lewis Hamilton as he blocked the Mercedes driver to stop him passing.
Sochi: Sebastian Vettel admitted he did not see Lewis Hamilton in his Ferrari mirrors when the pair battled for position during a classic mid-race scrap in Sunday's Russian Grand Prix.
The four-time champion German was accused of performing a double-defensive move by the Mercedes driver as he blocked Hamilton to stop him passing.
"I didn't see him and I wasn't sure where he was," said Vettel, who finished third behind the triumphant Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
"I saw he was on the outside and I needed to give him room even if I didn't want to – so it was fair, it remained fair, but he got past..."
Hamilton had complained that the move was not fair.
"Ultimately, for me, he did move over to the inside and moved again and he nearly put me in the wall.
"I thought it was a double-move, but the race stewards didn't see it that way."
A stewards' investigation decided the tussle was a normal racing incident and no further action was needed.
Hamilton reacted to the incident with another on-track attack that saw him swoop by on the inside.
"I think everyone had the same pace, but we managed the tyres differently," said Vettel.
"I tried to put pressure on Valtteri when I was behind, but I couldn't get close enough, and then, when he backed off and lost 1.5 seconds, I had a tiny lock-up and Lewis had new tyres. Mine were only a lap old.
"I think we were close, but it's not what we wanted."
Vettel added: "It was tricky. They worked well together and, at the start, I had nowhere to go.
"Then, we surprised them with a good out-lap (after his pit stop) and I managed to jump Lewis and Valtteri. Lewis was close, but then we nearly had a run-in."
A subdued Hamilton, unhappy to win with the assistance of team tactics as Bottas was asked to move aside and allow him to pass, added that he felt lucky to have escaped an accident with Vettel.
"Fortunately, I was able to get out of it. I don't know how we ended up in that place, but that's what happened."
Cars to get pricier at the start of 2022: Maruti Suzuki, Mercedes-Benz and Audi announce price hikes
While Maruti’s price rise planned for January 2022 will vary for different models, Mercedes-Benz India will hike prices of select models by up to two percent.
Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis team up with US-based Factorial Energy to develop solid-state EV batteries
Factorial Energy and Mercedes-Benz will jointly develop solid-state batteries; aim to begin testing prototype cells as early as next year.
Hamilton aired his views in a news conference in Jeddah where the penultimate race of the 2021 Formula One season takes place on Sunday.