A very disappointed Nico Rosberg confirmed that he had been left with nowhere to go when confronted by Mark Webber's Red Bull machine just two laps into a rain-soaked Korean Grand Prix.

The German had raised expectations for the inaugural event in Yeongam by qualifying fifth on the grid and, having had to trail the safety car for 17 laps - either side of a red flag - until conditions were deemed suitable for racing, made short work of passing Lewis Hamilton for fourth almost as soon as the green flag flew.

Unfortunately, however, that left him in the firing line when Webber dropped his car over the kerb exiting turn twelve next time around and, as the Australian careered back and forth across the circuit, Rosberg was left with a difficult choice to make.

"It was really difficult to judge which way Mark's car would go, and I took the decision to go left, but he spun more and more that way and I just couldn't avoid him," the German lamented, a potential podium finish having gone begging.

"We had a near perfect weekend with the car until the collision. Qualifying in fifth place was great and the car has felt good all weekend. The team has done a great job here, and the straight-line speed that we had enabled me to overtake Hamilton early in the race, so it's a big shame that my race was ended early. We could have had a great result today."

With long-time leader Sebastian Vettel retiring late on with an engine failure, Hamilton came through to finish second, a position that could easily have been Rosberg's after he pulled away from the Briton early on.

"It was a shame for Nico, who certainly had the possibility of finishing on the podium, given that he was ahead of Lewis - who ultimately finished second - when he was caught up in Mark Webber's incident," Mercedes' Norbert Haug confirmed.

There was some comfort for the Three Pointed Star, however, as the regenmeister of old returned to its second car, Michael Schumacher reprising his best result of the season in fourth place.

"I am pretty happy with today's race, and I have to say thank you to my team, who guided me perfectly through the afternoon," the seven-time champion admitted, "I am sure that the spectators had a lot of fun here today, but the only shame was that Nico was put out of the race, otherwise we would have seen a very good weekend for our team."

Despite his proven ability in the wet, Schumacher accepted that race officials had done the right thing in delaying, then halting, the start because of incessant rain over Yeongam.

"The FIA did very well to start the race behind the safety car, as it absolutely would not have been possible to have a racing start," Schumacher insisted

Finishing as 'best of the rest' behind Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa, Schumacher not only strengthened his claim to ninth in the drivers' championship, but cemented Mercedes' fourth overall in the teams' standings.

"The team did an excellent job this weekend and have been rewarded with a very good result for Michael today," team principal Ross Brawn concluded, "but it could have been even better as Nico was in a strong position, and obviously we are disappointed that he was taken out of the race.

"He had made a great overtaking move on Hamilton, and was very happy with the car and everything was going well up that point. Michael, meanwhile, had an extremely good race. He took all of his opportunities and drove sensibly in the tricky conditions. We spent the latter part of the race looking after the tyres and making sure that we got through to the end as we didn't think that we could challenge the leaders. Overall, it was a very positive weekend and we hope to finish the season with equally strong performances."