Sebastian Vettel had 'nowhere to go' after 'too good' start

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel reckons a strong start left him with “nowhere to go” in his first-turn collision with Valtteri Bottas at the French Grand Prix.

Vettel challenged Bottas for second on the run to the Verrerie S at the start of the race at Paul Ricard and the Finn appeared to have the position under control.

However, Vettel locked up and clipped Bottas, spinning the Mercedes driver – who also copped a puncture – while the erstwhile title leader sustained front wing damage.

Vettel, who received a five-second time penalty after being deemed the culprit, recovered to fifth spot, but relinquished the lead of the standings to Lewis Hamilton.

“Well, my start was too good and then I ended up with nowhere to go,” said Vettel.

“It was my mistake and I tried to brake early to get out of it but I had no room and then no grip with it being so close to the cars in front and also next to me.

“Obviously Valtteri tried to get his position back which is fair enough but then I had nowhere to go obviously as the turn goes left and I tried to slow down.

“But with that little grip I could only lock the rears and that meant I had to unfortunately make contact with Valtteri.”

Vettel reckons Ferrari would have been able to challenge Mercedes in race trim without the first corner clash.

“I haven't seen enough of the race but I think we had good pace,” he said.

“Obviously I tried to hammer through the field to recover but that damaged the tyre also so it is difficult to say as we are always on different tyres. In the end I had fresher tyres.

“I think we had decent pace to go at least with Mercedes.”