Sebastian Vettel said he had no option but to accept the decision to demote him in the results of the German Grand Prix, despite insisting that he felt he wasn't at fault during his move on Jenson Button in the closing stages.
Vettel was penalised 20 seconds post-race for putting all four wheels off the road while making a move for second place on the penultimate lap, with the German slipping down to fifth as a result.
Although he insisted that he had merely been trying to avoid a collision between the pair, Vettel was found to have tried to gain an unfair advantage and given the penalty that knocked him off the podium.
“We had a decent race today although there wasn't enough pace when we got close to Fernando and we also lost a position to Jenson who had a good pit stop and came in earlier,” he said. “A couple of laps before that, I lost some time with Lewis as he un-lapped himself. At the end of the race, Jenson's tyres were gone and we were able to close the gap again.
“It was then a question of when, rather than where, and I tried to outbrake him. He opened the brake again and then was up the inside; I wasn't sure where he was, I couldn't see him in that moment, so decided to give enough space and went off line on the slippery paint and I was able to stay ahead and get past him.
“The only intention was not to crash and to give him enough room. I have respect for him and I didn't want to squeeze him. It was good to be on the podium at the home race, but I have to respect the steward's decision.”
Team boss Christian Horner also accepted the decision, even though he insisted it was 'disappointing'.
“An interesting race,” he said. “It was really close between Fernando, Sebastian and Jenson throughout, what turned out to be, a two-stop race. We lost a bit of time in the middle stint, when Lewis was un-lapping himself, which possibly allowed Jenson to get ahead at the pit stop, but then Sebastian gave it everything and made a move to get ahead a couple of laps from the finish at his home race.
“It was also disappointing to receive the penalty after the race but we accept this. We leave Germany with points for both drivers and we maintain our lead in the Constructors'. We will now focus on the next race which is only one week away.”