Vettel says Baku was 'worst feeling' of 2017
10 December 2017 – Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel says the aftermath of the rancorous Azerbaijan Grand Prix left him with the "worst feeling" of 2017, after ultimately missing out on the Formula 1 title.
Preparing for a restart, Vettel hit the rear of Lewis Hamilton's car, before pulling alongside his rival, gesticulating, and making side-on-side contact.
Vettel was issued with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for the incident, denying him the opportunity to triumph when Hamilton was compromised by a loose headrest.
Having led the standings through the opening half of the campaign, Vettel's title bid unravelled amid the lap-one crash in Singapore, and engine issues in Malaysia and Japan.
Vettel, though, pinpointed Azerbaijan as the lowest moment.
"The worst feeling I had [was] after Baku, just because I think I sort of ruined the race with something unnecessary, so I struggled with that," said Vettel.
"Then you would probably refer to other races such as Singapore, Japan, but then in Singapore, from my point of view that's racing.
"I thought about it a lot on Sunday night [after the race] and it wasn't easy to put it behind [me], but then, what do you do?
"It's the same in Japan… there's a saying – I don't know if I'll get the literal translation right – that you can't hold on to something that's not in your hands, and that's a good fit.
"Sometimes things are not in your hands and you have to move forward.
"You struggle a lot more in life with things that you messed up rather than got messed up for you, if you see what I mean."
Vettel's title hopes were mathematically extinguished with two rounds to go, after Hamilton amassed a sufficient buffer to clinch the crown at the Mexican Grand Prix.
Vettel feels that losing his chance earlier in the campaign, rather than at the final round of the season, made the defeat easier to digest.
"I think obviously we lost the title with a couple of races to go so I think we had races to focus on and refocus again," he said, having won in Brazil and taken a podium finish in Abu Dhabi.
"So from that [point] it was a bit easier because there were things to do other than losing it maybe in the last race.
"Overall it's been a positive year, we've had a very strong car, strong package, if you don't finish first obviously it's always a missed opportunity, but that's how it was."