|© Clive Mason/Getty Images/Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel needed just one roadblock to shake him off from the lead of the United States Grand Prix on Sunday and he found that at the back of the grid.
After fending off a charging Lewis Hamilton for several laps, the German entered the back straight with the McLaren driver in close pursuit. But the defending champion had lost a little time behind the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan, which allowed the Mclaren driver to execute a bold manoeuvre on the straight.
“Unbelievable!” yelled Vettel over the radio. “What a stupid overtake.”
The message was thought to be for Hamilton but Vettel clarified that it was not.
“I wasn't complaining about Lewis, obviously,” the championship leader said.
“I wasn't too happy send a nice big invitation to Lewis when I obviously had to go through Karthikeyan and he was basically right behind at the DRS zone; to do a big difference within one corner is hardly possible and then he took that opportunity - fair enough - down the straight and passed me.
“I tried to defend, I moved to the inside but I knew that he would have so much more speed that he can pick either side, so it didn't really matter what I was doing and after that,” he explained.
“I was obviously not too happy, because on all the laps before I tried to manage the gap to him, tried to manage the tyres until the end of the race, to be able to attack towards the last couple of laps. We had, I think, something like 20 laps, 15 laps to go at the time. It was not targeted at Lewis, it was more targeted at the backmarker which, as I said, gave a nice big envelope with an invitation to Lewis,” he pointed out.
Hamilton too confessed that the emergence of Karthikeyan, who finished the race in last place, during the battle ahead of the DRS zone helped him.
“The backmarkers really came into play – and, finally, they worked in my favour,” said Hamilton. “I’ve often been caught out when I’ve been trying to get through traffic, but things finally went my way today.
“When Seb was delayed by a backmarker, I knew I had to grab my chance, so I turned the engine up to maximum revs and pushed like crazy,” he said. “Along the back-straight I went to the the outside, but Seb closed the door, so I moved to the inside, and he came back towards me. I was very lucky. It was very close.”