Verstappen collision 'the end of Vettel's championship'
Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes that the collision between Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel during the Japanese Grand Prix which left the German in a spin has effectively marked "the end of Sebastian's championship", with Lewis Hamilton cruising to victory in Suzuka.
After starting from eighth on the grid, Vettel was keen to make up ground on the drivers ahead and attempted to overtake Verstappen at Spoon, only to clip the Dutchman in an incident which left him spinning out of contention.
Vettel eventually finished sixth, but with his championship rival Hamilton recording the comfortable win, Horner thinks the crash has ended the German's title hopes.
"For me it was a racing incident," Horner told Sky Sports.
"One of the stewards came up with the right decision. It was a bit late, and obviously it was opportunistic, and you know with Max - he's never going to give an inch. So with different drivers, you take different liberties.
"Unfortunately, that's probably the end of Sebastian's championship."
Verstappen was involved in another crash on the day, this time with Kimi Raikkonen, but Horner has defended his driver, saying he didn't have space to avoid the Ferrari man.
"Max has made the mistake with Kimi over the grass and he just run out of space, so how do you get out of the way?" Horner continued.
"He was lucky to come away without much damage, and he got the penalty and he was still able to get out ahead of Kimi."
Overall, Horner was happy with the performances of Verstappen and his team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, and believes that if there was a few more laps remaining that the former could have caught Valtteri Bottas, who finished second.
"Under race conditions we were competitive," the Red Bull boss added.
"We lost some aerodynamic load as we had some damage from the Kimi incident, but Max was putting pressure on Valtteri at the end and I think we just ran out of laps.
We were right on the red line giving everything we could, there's only one DRS zone here so for Max to get so close to Valtteri even with a penalty at the end is fantastic.
"For Daniel overtaking is easy he’s driven great drive again. I hope we can have a strong weekend in the US Grand Prix and I hope Daniel can be back on the podium as well, but we’re pinning our hopes on Mexico as well."
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