Sebastian Vettel said he was very lucky to escape being hit at high speed when Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez collided at the end of Sunday’s drama-filled Canadian Grand Prix.
The defending four-time world champion’s Red Bull car was passed on either side by the Williams and Force India cars of the two Latin Americans, missing his vehicle by less than a metre as they tangled approaching Turn One on the final lap.
Mexican Perez and Brazilian Massa avoided serious injury in the crash that saw Perez’s collision with the barriers measured at a force of 27G.Form
German Vettel had just passed Perez into the final chicane just prior to the clash.
“I saw they were close to each other,” he said. “I saw something white coming in the mirror and I turned right — and Felipe was in the air coming past.
“I was quite lucky — and saw him just in time.”
Vettel had spent the second half of the race behind ultimately victorious team-mate Daniel Ricciardo as both chased second-placed Perez and the ailing Mercedes of leader Nico Rosberg.
The Renault-powered Red Bull’s lack of power let him down, he said.
“It was difficult for us all the time, getting stuck behind the Force India,” he said. “We were just not quick enough down the straights. We lacked power.
“But it’s the first win for Renault in this new era of engines. They have had a good comeback, but there’s still plenty of work ahead of us as Mercedes is still ahead on the straights.
“After the first stop, until I caught Nico, basically my race was over. There was no way to get past, the Mercedes-powered cars were too quick and we were in trouble defending to Williams behind.
“At the very end, I was lucky to capitalise on Perez’s brake problems which allowed me to be closer down the straights and make the move stick, but you could see with my DRS open and his closed, he was still gaining down the straightsâ€¦ But this is what we are fighting.”