A sombre Sebastian Vettel apologised for the mistake that ruined Jenson Button's chance of scoring points in the Belgian Grand Prix yesterday. The German, who also finished outside the top 10, crashed his Red Bull-Renault into championship rival Button on lap 16 as they braked for the Bus Stop chicance. "What happened, happened and we can't change it now. Obviously I'm not proud of it, I lost the car going over the bump as I was braking and unfortunately hit Jenson, so he couldn't continue," he said.
"I'm sorry for him. We'll have to see what we can do at the next races." The 23-year-old lost control of his car as he closed in on the rear of Button's McLaren-Mercedes and he spun round and into the side of the car. Vettel was able to continue but he had to pit to change the nose on his car. He was be given a drive-through penalty by the stewards, and then lost more time after picking up a puncture following a coming together with Vitantonio Lizzi's Force India, and he eventually finished a in distant 15th place, a lap adrift of Lewis Hamilton, the race winner.
A disappointed Button said: "I've watched it on TV now, and I'd say it was a very strange incident. Clearly, he didn't do it on purpose, and I gather he's now apologised, but I have to say I've got no idea what he was doing. "It's a massive blow to my world championship hopes. Meanwhile, Rubens Barrichello apologised to his Williams team and Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso after a first lap crash in the Belgian Grand Prix, the 300th of his career.
The 38-year-old, looking forward to a memorable afternoon to mark his landmark record race participation, ended it earlier than expected when a rain storm forced his exit before a lap was completed. He said: "Despite my experience, it was very difficult to know how wet the track was on the opening lap, but it was fully wet when I came into Blanchimont. "I was closing the door on [Nico] Rosberg and when I touched the brakes, even though it was quite early, it wasn't sufficient to stop the car. The car went straight on into [Fernando] Alonso, for which I'm sorry."
Barrichello, who made his debut in 1993, admitted that the retirement was particularly disappointing given the excitement surrounding his 300th race. "It's also sad for the team - we've had such a positive weekend that a good result would have been a nice conclusion," he said. Nico Hulkenberg, his teammate, also failed to score, finishing 14th in a race marred for him by a throttle control problem.