Red Bull boss Christian Horner reckons Sebastian Vettel’s attempted pass on Max Verstappen in the Japanese Grand Prix was “optimistic”, adding a collision was “inevitable”.

The pair tangled at Spoon as they battled over third place during the early stages at Suzuka, with Vettel sent spinning to the rear of the field after a late lunge resulted in him hitting the side of Verstappen’s Red Bull.

Both drivers blamed each other but Horner felt the stewards’ decision to judge the clash as a racing incident was the “right result”.

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“I think it was a bit optimistic and I think the right result from the stewards happened,” Horner told Channel 4.

“I think he came from quite a way back and it is quick there with no big breaking in the corner and with Max you know he is not going to give an inch so the outcome unfortunately was inevitable when that happened.

“You could see a few bits came off so aerodynamically we lost a reasonable percentage of load so he had to move his tools around to try to compensate for that.

“It wasn’t ideal but he had enough in hand and enough pace at the end of the race to surprisingly challenge Valtteri [Bottas] on the different tyres.”

Verstappen had earlier received a five-second time penalty for returning to the track in an unsafe manner as he forced Kimi Raikkonen wide coming out of the final chicane on the opening lap.

Horner said Red Bull accepted the penalty but felt there was little in the incident, describing it as “six of one and half a dozen of the other”.

“That kind of thing when it goes to the stewards can go either way,” he explained.

“You can argue it is a racing incident as he locked up, ran wide and rejoined the track. He probably isn’t aware where Kimi is at that point to be honest with you. It is one of those things, we accept the penalty.

“He is focused on rejoining the track and getting going again. He is probably not aware of Kimi and as you can see he is not looking in his mirrors at that point and then Kimi arrives so it is six of one and half a dozen of the other.

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