Sebastian Vettel insists his spin while battling Formula 1 rival Lewis Hamilton during the Bahrain Grand Prix was not related to pressure. 

The Ferrari driver, who endured a mistake-ridden campaign in 2018 and made a number of high-profile errors in his title defeat to Hamilton, ended up spinning as the pair fought wheel-to-wheel over second place on Lap 38 of Sunday’s race in Bahrain

Severe flatspots on his Pirelli F1 tyres caused his front wing to break away and ultimately forced Vettel into an unscheduled pit stop as he recovered to a lowly fifth, while Hamilton profited on Charles Leclerc’s engine issues to score an unlikely win. 

But the German denied he is feeling the pressure after a tricky opening two rounds that has left him fifth in the championship and four points behind teammate Leclerc. 

“I don’t think it has anything to do with pressure,” Vettel insisted. 

“Obviously, when I was fighting with Lewis the target was to stay ahead and that was the ambition. I got surprised when I lost the rear that suddenly and then when I was in the spin it was already too late. 

“Certainly I had a look at it again - certainly it was my mistake and I need to digest that our race could have been a bit better without that spin at that time. 

“Nevertheless it was difficult race and there is plenty of homework on my side this weekend not having the feel for the car, so we need to have a good look. 

“From a team’s point of view it was a good step forward from two weeks ago. Plenty of reason to look forward and generally I am looking forward.” 

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto moved to defend his driver when pressed for comment. 

“It was a mistake and I don’t think we should discuss about mistakes,” he said. 

“We are always in the battle and in the fight, that is what we are doing and it is never easy. I think at the end it is something that can always happen. 

“I think we need to encourage our drivers, because it is only by driving to the limit that they achieve the best result and that is what Seb was trying to do. 

“As he said, there is some homework on the balance to improve, we are still learning about our car. So I think all good in that respect and we will keep focus on that and hope to improve.” 

 

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