A mortified Sebastian Vettel has apologised to Mark Webber for eliminating both himself and his rival from the Japanese Grand Prix whilst they were running second and third under the safety car, although the German claims he was distracted by Lewis Hamilton.

Up to that point, both Vettel and Webber were having magnificent races, jumping up past the Ferraris at the start and then ahead of Jenson Button and Nick Heidfeld when they collided.

When Fernando Alonso crashed out and the first round of pit-stops were over with, Webber ran second and Vettel was a comfortable third, the duo at that point circulating on the circuit faster than Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.

However, with Hamilton backing the field up under the safety car, Vettel lost concentration and slammed into the back of Webber, putting both Red Bull racers out the race and prompting some rather choice words from the Australian during the post-race interview.

Also ending hopes of a best-ever result for Toro Rosso, while Vettel was not willing to place blame on Hamilton, the German admits he was confused as to why the Brit was slowing down so much at that part of the circuit.

"I made a good start and the race was going well. Then, with the final safety car, I was behind Lewis and Mark and exiting Turn 13, I looked to the right and saw Lewis going really slowly, I don't know why, but I thought he had a problem.

"Probably he was heating his brakes. Then, by the time I looked forward again, I was already in the back of Mark's car and I think he had also reacted to Lewis. I apologise now to Mark because I ruined both our races."

Webber, on the other hand, did not see things that way, calling Vettel's driving 'wild'. It was a particular disappointment for both Webber, who was battling food poisoning, and Red Bull as second would have signalled a career best result for the Australian, while it would have also lifted the team ahead of Williams to fourth in the constructor standings.

"That was a completely disastrous finish. Vettel was a bit wild behind me during the first safety car period and then did a very good job of hitting me very hard under the second safety car. I think today he will have learnt a very valuable lesson."

"We were in very, very good shape to challenge Lewis for first today. We were strong and I didn't make any mistakes despite the tricky conditions, cars were aquaplaning and the visibility was very poor. Fernando's crash caused the second safety car stint, which bunched everyone back up again. That wasn't great; I would have liked to have continued to the end of the race."

 

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