Sebastian Vettel has shrugged off any concerns his errors this season will hamper his 2018 Formula 1 world title fight despite losing the championship lead last time out.

Vettel crashed into Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas at the first corner of the French Grand Prix, an incident which saw him drop to the back of the field before he was hit with a five-second time penalty for the clash, which forced him into a charge through the F1 pack to finish a disappointing fifth place for Ferrari at Paul Ricard.

The four-time F1 world champion lost his one-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ standings with the Mercedes driver now holding a 14-point lead ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Vettel’s clash in France marks his second high-profile racing error in the space of five races having locked up while battling for the lead at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, limping home to fourth in Baku, and while the German driver regrets shedding points to his main title rivals he feels it won’t play a key role in the championship battle.

“There are some errors you shouldn't do, some errors that happen. It depends on the type of error,” Vettel said. “I've had a lot of races and it happens. I try to minimise it, but I'm not worried. I don't think there is something fundamentally wrong.

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“Mistakes are not part of the plan, whatever plan you have. They're never part of the plan for anybody. It's a long way to go, and it's normal some things happen along the way.

“Obviously you are trying to push the limits. It didn't cross my mind when I was in Baku to just stay behind, surrender, and maybe wave another person past, just to collect some points. That's not how I define racing. I tried to go for the gap, I went for it, it was there, and I didn't make it. It didn't work. Sometimes it works out, and it's great; sometimes it doesn't.

“At the end of the year you try to get everything right, and not to get everything wrong. That's natural. It's also part of the excitement, so we'll see where we end up.”

Vettel and Hamilton are matched level on three F1 race wins each so far in 2018 while the pair have traded the championship lead on multiple occasions throughout the season.

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