Picture: David Mdzinarishvili / Reuters.

Baku - Sebastian Vettel said he had no choice but to try and pass Valtteri Bottas in what proved to be a misjudged move that cost him a podium finish in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion Ferrari driver had led the race and looked to be on course for victory until a late Safety Car intervention gave the Finn a chance to pit his Mercedes and emerge in the lead.

“I am happy that I tried,” said Vettel. “I’m not happy that it didn’t work, but I have to try.

“I don’t think it was overly optimistic to jump down the inside. I wasn’t overly late, otherwise I don’t make the corner at all, but I did make it, just.”

Vettel attempted to pass Bottas, but ended up out-braking himself and locked up as he ran off before recovering to finish fourth.

“I didn’t have any option. Lewis (Hamilton) was on the right so I can’t close on him. Valtteri was ahead of me. He left a gap. I was surprised, judging the braking was very difficult. 

“I was a bit trapped because I couldn’t see where I was relative to Turn One. We have our references and they are on the right -– a kerb, the signs on the wall and on the left there is hardly any reference.

“I had a decent re-start, I saw the gap on the inside and unfortunately I locked up. Without the lock-up, braking at the same point, I think I make the corner and it turns out to be a good move.

“It’s easy to say it didn’t work so it is the wrong thing, but I had to try. We can’t let one or two seconds from the race have a shame on all the race, because there were a lot of positives.”

Agence France-Presse