PARIS, France -- Sebastian Vettel says the morning after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was the lowest moment of his 2017 season as he contemplated his collision with title rival Lewis Hamilton.
In a bizarre loss of composure, Vettel drove into the side of Hamilton while the pair were preparing for a restart behind the Safety Car. Vettel believed Hamilton had brake tested him in the previous corner, but FIA data showed no evidence that Hamilton had acted unusually during the restart period.
Although he showed no remorse in the immediate aftermath of the race, Vettel later apologised for the incident after being summoned to explain his actions to the FIA. The Ferrari driver retained the lead of the championship until after F1's summer break when his championship hopes faded with a first-lap accident in Singapore and reliability issues in Malaysia and Japan, but speaking ahead of the FIA prize giving ceremony in Paris on Friday he said Baku was still his lowlight.
"The worst feeling I had was after Baku," he admitted. "Just because I lost the race with something unnecessary. I struggled with that.
"Then you would probably refer to other races such as Singapore and Japan, but I think Singapore [and the collision with Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen], in my point of view, that's racing. I thought about it a lot on Sunday night and it wasn't easy to put behind me, but then what do you do?
"The same in Japan -- I don't know if it's the literal translation to English, but you can't hold onto something that is not in your hands. That's a good fit and sometimes things are not in your hands and you have to move forward.
"You struggle generally in life a lot more with things that you messed up rather than those that got messed up for you if you see what I mean."
However, Vettel said it was important not to overlook the good job Ferrari did this year as well.
"I think we all want to have the perfect result every single time, but there were races where we [the team] could have done better and races where I could have done better, but there were also races where we should have done a lot worse and we didn't.
"Obviously some of the races get highlighted and you get a lot of praise for it, other times you get a lot of the opposite but that's part of the game. I think the more important thing for us drivers -- for us as a team -- is to understand where we have been strong and where we have been weak."