Vergne: Bottas clipped me

Sunday 21-April-2013 15:37

Jean-Eric Vergne had the dubious honour of being the only driver not to reach the chequered flag in Bahrain after being hit at the start.

Fighting for track position on the opening lap, Vergne was hit by Valtteri Bottas with the impact pushing him into the path of a Caterham's Giedo van der Garde.

The impact sent Vergne into the pits with a puncture while he was later forced to retire due to the underfloor damage.

"I was pushed by Bottas as I passed him on the outside of Turn 4, giving him plenty of room and he clipped my car," said the Toro Rosso driver.

"Unfortunately for Van de Garde, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it was a big impact, which caused a lot of damage to the car, including a puncture and left it with a big piece of the floor missing.

"After I pitted, I tried to carry on to see how the car felt, but in the end, I was a lap down, I'd lost plenty of aero and the team could see that the damage was causing the car to overheat to an unsafe level, so they called me in to retire."

Vergne's first retirement of this season has left him with just one point from four races.

"This opening sequence of races has not gone too well for me," he said. "I really hope that the beginning of the European part of the season will be like a new start for me."

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