Rain washed out most of Saturday's final German Grand Prix practice session, with less than half the Formula One grid setting a lap time.
Lewis Hamilton regained the lead in the world drivers championship on Sunday when he claimed one of the most memorable victories of his career by winning a rain-hit German Grand Prix for Mercedes after starting from 14th on the grid.
The Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, also insisted that the instruction from the team to Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas not to attempt to pass him was a one-off order and that their drivers would continue to race freely in future.
Incredibly, the British driver is now 17 points ahead of Vettel after striking a devastating championship blow on his rival's home turf.
"I threw it away.
What we saw is that in the previous lap, running wide but completely within the boundaries of what you can do, saw some overload", he said. "We had the race in the bag". If the stewards find him guilty, he will lose the top position to Bottas and his championship lead margin on Vettel will come down to 10 points instead of current 17points. "It was a huge impact on the race because we retired there but it's not like tonight I'll have difficulty falling asleep because of what I've done wrong", Vettel told Sky Sports television.
"To those who take joy in seeing other people fail or suffer, I feel for you", he said in a series of messages to his 6.7million Instagram followers. He showed that again having started at the back, worked his way up, was hugely fast, made all the right decisions and showed fighting spirit and won the damn thing which is unbelievable.
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"It rained more and more and it was so tricky out there, but I'd come so far, there was no way I was giving it up".
Vettel climbed out of the vehicle and kicked the gravel in frustration. I did a long prayer before the race and I wanted to stay collected and calm. "I have never had a race like this".
Vettel and Hamilton are both chasing a fifth F1 crown to move level with Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio and go two behind record-holder Michael Schumacher.
Vettel had played a very weak hand in Baku.
However, the four-time champion was then summoned to the stewards for an aborted pit stop during the safety auto period.
It was the race that not even Lewis Hamilton could have dreamt of.
Mercedes have dominated the sport for the past four years, but the increased competition from both Ferrari and Red Bull has allowed for a series of mechanical and strategical errors to rock Hamilton's campaign. With 25 points beckoning, Vettel got none.
An ecstatic Hamilton hailed the remarkable win as one of the best of his career.
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