Sebastian Vettel laments the late-race incident with close friend Mick Schumacher in Miami, which cost the four-time champion the chance to top off a remarkable recovery drive from the pit lane.
The Aston Martin driver, along with his teammate Lance Stroll, were forced to start the Miami Grand Prix from the pit lane after the team missed the period to take to the track for the reconnaissance laps to the grid. This was due to the team deciding to warm up the fuel in both cars after it was considered too cold to fire up the cars safely.
After scoring points with both cars in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, the Aston Martin duo continued their upwards trajectory of results by qualifying strongly in Miami on Saturday.
Stroll qualified in P10 with Vettel in P13 - a far cry from their expected pace, thought to be closer to that of the last two rows of the grid.
In the wake of taking to the track after the race had got underway, Vettel put together a masterful recovery drive, albeit one assisted by the timing of the virtual safety car that was quickly upgraded to a full safety car.
"It was very, very difficult to overtake. I would have thought it would have been easier," Vettel admitted.
"I was much faster at the start and then lost a bit of momentum, always felt a step too late. Of course, we benefited from the safety car. I think we could have finished at least eighth today."
His drive to a likely P9 was then ended at Turn 1 in the closing stages thanks to an accident with Schumacher. The Haas driver made an attempt to pass Vettel on the inside, but one which resulted in heavy front-left to rear-right contact as the Aston Martin turned in and was launched into the air.
A frustrated Schumacher remains without a single point to his name this season after hobbling to P15, in contrast to his late-arrival teammate Kevin Magnussen - who has 15 points to his name from the first five rounds.
"I don't really know [what happened]. It's obviously super difficult to see things in the rear-view mirrors of these cars," Schumacher explained. "It was a very unfortunate way to end the race today."
Vettel describes the incident with Schumacher - who's family he is now especially close to, acting as a de facto mentor to the latter in the Formula 1 paddock - as "stupid for both" due to the loss of crucial points for both parties.
"Of course, stupid for both of us, that's what remains," Vettel said. "I'm sorry we're both out [of the points].
"I thought I had the corner and was in front, I didn't expect him. Then when I saw him it was too late but I'll have to look at it again. But it's bitter for both of us of course."
The FIA stewards decided to take no further action on the incident, and neither driver opted to distribute the blame to the other.
It seemed as though the move which at first looked to be too-late a lunge on Schumacher's part, was leaning towards being a racing incident owing to the Haas' front axle being alongside Vettel's rear by just enough margin. However the former imply could not get the necessary speed off before making contact.
When pressed further on the nature of the incident's aftermath in regards to his off-track relationship with Vettel, Schumacher said the incident is "hard to judge" but would like to learn from his mentor's point of view.
"I have to wait and see how it looks from the outside," he said post-race. "But I’m sure it will also be good for me to see what Seb thinks about it. We’ll just have to move on from here."
"It’s nice that I can learn from him, he’s so valuable to me as a friend, so yeah we’ll see. Obviously we’re all racers."