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F1: Sebastian Vettel admits his small mistake came at big cost for team in German GP

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HOCKENHEIM, Germany (AP) — Even though Sebastian Vettel has won four Formula One titles and 51 races, he is still prone to worrying lapses of concentration.

The Ferrari driver accepted his small mistake at Sunday’s German Grand Prix cost his team in a big way, and gifted Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes a victory they could hardly have expected.

Leading both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships before the race, Vettel and Ferrari are now behind in both.

As the rain came thudding down at the Hockenheim ring – near to where Vettel grew up – his judgment seemed to slip away.

Leading from pole position with only 15 laps to go, Vettel misjudged a routine entry into a turn, slid off the track and slammed into the barriers.

Race over.

Even worse, Hamilton profited from his mistake to reclaim the championship lead by 17 points.

“I threw it away. It was my mistake. We had the pace and we controlled the race for most of it,” Vettel said. “We had the race in the bag.”

Vettel, who made key mistakes last season as Hamilton secured the title, seemed keen to use the rain as a factor for his crash on Sunday.

“It’s not like tonight I’ll have difficulties to fall asleep, because of what I’ve done wrong. We didn’t need the rain,” he said. “It was a small mistake but a big impact on the race. A tiny bit too late on the brakes, I locked the rears and I couldn’t turn. It wasn’t the biggest mistake I’ve done, but one of the mostly costly ones.”

Vettel climbed out of the car and kicked the gravel in frustration.

“I realized quickly that it was over,” said Vettel, who again played down his mistake. “I think it feels better if it’s spectacular, because then you’ve done something really wrong.” He added that “I didn’t do much wrong” but his performance was “not enough to finish the race.”

Vettel and Hamilton are both chasing a fifth F1 crown to move level with Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio and go two behind record-holder Michael Schumacher.

After the Azerbaijan GP in June 2017, Hamilton publicly spoke about his rival’s apparent vulnerability under pressure as something he could exploit.

Vettel had played a very weak hand in Baku. Irritated by what he perceived to be Hamilton’s deliberately slow driving behind a safety car, he accelerated alongside the British driver and then inexplicably swerved into the left side of his Mercedes.

Vettel subsequently apologized but by September the German driver had lost his way, never regaining the momentum after a huge mistake in Singapore.

Before that Grand Prix, Vettel was only three points behind Hamilton with seven races remaining. He took pole position and, better still, Hamilton was fifth on the grid. It was the perfect scenario but Vettel went diagonally across the track to cut off Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and crashed out of the Singapore GP. With 25 points beckoning, Vettel got none. The nightmare scenario concluded with Hamilton profiting from the chaos to win.

It was a similar scenario at Hockenheim on Sunday.

Twin sisters chosen for Lincoln Tech-Schmidt Peterson Mentorship Program

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Tech
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Lincoln Tech and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced a continuation of their long-time partnership earlier this year, and part of that partnership included a return of their mentorship program, which sees Lincoln Tech students join SPM’s team during select race weekends.

The ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway will add a new and interesting chapter to that program as the students selected happen to be twin sisters.

Jacqueline and Nathalie Mische, who are studying Automotive Technology at Lincoln Tech’s East Windsor, CT campus, will be part of James Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda team during the Pocono weekend.

Jacqueline and Nathalie Mische will be part of James Hinchcliffe’s team at Pocono. Photo: IndyCar

What’s even more interesting is that Jacqueline and Nathalie previously worked in a hair salon as after graduating from beauty school. They explained that one of their Lincoln Tech instructors, Kristopher Fluckiger, put the idea of pursuing a career in the racing field in their heads.

“He was a Lincoln Tech graduate, and then he was actually a racer,” Natalie and Jacqueline said of Mr. Fluckiger in a video release by Lincoln Tech detailing their story. “When we had him for steering and suspension, he always told us about stagger and race cars. He integrated racing into everything he was teaching us.”

And the young women feel both humbled and surprised by the opportunity at hand.

“It’s still so surreal. When everyone told us that we got chosen – to be able to go, we feel honored that we get that opportunity,” Natalie revealed.

Jacqueline added, “Especially two of us from one campus, we kind of didn’t think we could (both get nominated).”

Kevin Clark, Director of Education at the East Windsor campus, spoke very highly of the Mische sisters and feels that they both earned the opportunity.

“(They) are truly deserving of this honor – being selected for the SPM Mentor program,” said Clark. “They are outstanding students with exceptional GPAs and near-perfect attendance. They are always upbeat, positive, and smiling while actively engaged in their education and helping others.”

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