Sebastian Vettel says he is sorry that championship hopeful Nico Rosberg got caught up in his first corner tussle with Max Verstappen in Malaysia.
Vettel made a great start from the third row of the grid to battle Verstappen through Turn 1 at the Sepang circuit.
The Ferrari driver had the inside line, Verstappen was close to his outside only for Rosberg to suddenly appear in front of Vettel.
The compatriots made contract with Rosberg spinning, and dropping down the order, and Vettel retiring with a broken front suspension.
Explaining that incident from inside his cockpit, Vettel said: “From inside the car I was to trying get past Max, which was fine, and obviously Nico came back and at that point he couldn’t see me so it is not his fault at all.
“Unfortunately I made contact with Nico.
“I can’t do more than apologise to him because it had nothing to do with him and it was the last thing he wanted.
“Clearly I am not going into Turn 1 wanting to take my front suspension off.”
As for Verstappen’s comments that Vettel is “crazy” and an “idiot”, the four-time World Champ said: “I think in that situation, racing side by side into Turn 1, I think I was braking at the same piont that he was braking.
“If anything there were two idiots.”
However, in the end, it was Rosberg who nearly paid the biggest price as the Mercedes driver went from potential race winner to P16. He recovered to finish third.
Vettel added: “Obviously Nico was ahead and he had nothing to do with the battle behind and he came out as one of the biggest losers.”