Cape Town – Although accepting he was responsible for his collision with Valtteri Bottas in France, Sebastian Vettel reckons there wasn’t anything he could have done to avoid it.
Making a great start, the Ferrari driver closed right up on second placed Bottas.
But it was too close in the end as he hit the back of the Mercedes.
Vettel had to pit for a new front wing while Bottas suffered a puncture.
The Ferrari driver fell to 16th place but recovered to fifth despite being handed a five-second penalty for causing a collision.
“In the end, there wasn’t that much I could have done differently,” he said. “Just the wrong place.
“Obviously what you don’t see is that I lost a lot of grip and as I said I saw it and I was aware, so the two cars running around the outside trying to get their position on me, because I was stuck but I couldn’t slow down more than I did and obviously lost the car and hit Valtteri.
“So I guess the rule is causing a collision and that’s what I did because I lost the car. But was it intentional? Certainly not, because it could as well have been the end of the race for me.
“Obviously for Valtteri it was very bad because it affected his race and he had nothing to do with it, so I went to him after the race [to talk to him]. Given the situation, how tight it was, I think we were both lucky in a way to be able to continue like I said.
“From there, obviously we had a good recovery but it wasn’t the race we wanted.”
Vettel, though, was pressed on why he didn’t do more to avoid the rear end of Bottas’ Mercedes.
He replied: “Well in the end, the way I look at it with hindsight, I would have liked to have a worse start, because then it would have been more straightforward and I wouldn’t be in that position!
“I haven’t seen it yet so I will look at it again, but from the inside it didn’t feel or didn’t appear that there was a lot I could have done differently.
“I tried to get out of it. Obviously you don’t hit the brakes 200 metres before the corner just because you think it could be a bad spot to be in, you still try to be competitive.
“But to be honest, I wasn’t attacking first, I was aware that Valtteri, and even I saw Max, would have a run around the outside because I’m stuck. But obviously it wasn’t enough but it’s just one of those things that sometimes goes wrong.”