Vettel laments 'small mistake but big disappointment'

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Sebastian Vettel predictably rued his costly mistake on lap 51 of Sunday's German Grand Prix, but while losing the race and the championship lead, the Ferrari driver's confidence remains intact.

Vettel had been in command of the race before a pitstop on lap 26 saw him slot back in behind team mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Progressively however, the faster of the Scuderia's drivers grew frustrated, feeling the Finn was hindering his pace. Ferrari's chief engineer Jock Clear ordered Raikkonen to let his team mate through.

Sporadic rain set in but Vettel remained comfortably ahead, but suddenly lost grip in the stadium section, veering off course into the barrier, thumping his steering wheel in frustration as he realized his loss.

"I was in the barrier and realized you don't get out from there," Vettel told Sky F1 when it was all said and done.

"I don't think it was a huge mistake, it was a huge impact on the race because we retired there, but it's not like tonight I'll have difficulties to fall asleep because of what I've done wrong."

Vettel's attempt to put things into perspective failed to deny the fact that he has now handed the lead in the title fight to Lewis Hamilton who now enjoys a 17 point advantage at the half-way mark of the season.

"I think it's disappointing because up to that point everything was sweet. We didn't need the rain," added Vettel.

"We have a strong car so I think we can be as confident as more than anybody else.

"It was a very positive weekend. It was just one of those moments and my mistake, so apologies to the team, they did everything right and I had it in my hands. Small mistake, big disappointment."

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