Mark Webber today accepted full responsibility for the smash that has put his Formula One world title hopes on the line.
Webber crashed out on lap 19 of a chaotic Korean Grand Prix which included four safety car sessions amounting to 24 of the 55 laps, and finished in near darkness.
The Australian’s accident forced the third deployment of the safety car, one that has culminated in a 14-point cushion at the start of the day turned into an 11-point deficit come the close.
After the first 17 laps were driven behind the safety car over two separate spells due to heavy rain, Webber’s race was run after one proper racing lap.
Running second behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel, Webber did nothing more than put a wheel on the synthetic surface on the outside of turn 12, sending him into a spin from which he hit a wall side on.
The impact forced him back across the track where the unfortunate Nico Rosberg was unable to take evasive action in his Mercedes, hitting the rear-right of Webber’s Red Bull.
“Conditions were okay by the time we were racing – okay, but on the edge, but it was totally my fault,” conceded an honest Webber.
“I got on the kerb on the exit of turn 12 and it was a very slow-motion moment off the back of that kerb.
“I thought I’d managed to catch it, but I lost the car and made contact with the wall.
“It was nothing too heavy, but it was enough to bring the car back to the other side of the track and then Nico hit me, which wrecked his race as well.
“It was my mistake and it wasn’t my day.”
Assessing the championship picture after watching Fernando Alonso claim his third win in four races to take up the standings lead, Webber added: “I can absolutely still win it.
“This was only my second non-finish of the year. Positions aren’t the most important thing, points are and they can change very quickly.
“I’m back with the others now on points, but there are still two races to go and I’ll do my absolute best.”
Red Bull ended up suffering their first double DNF for the first time in 51 races stretching back to the Australian Grand Prix of 2008 as Sebastian Vettel’s engine blew nine laps from home when on course for victory.
Instead of leading the championship for what would have been the first time this season if his car had held on, the German instead trails Alonso by 25 points.
“It would have been easier if we had won and the engine hadn’t have broken, but that’s life and how it goes sometimes,” said Vettel.
“We will keep our heads down for the last two races. We have a very strong team and a strong car, and we know we are the quickest.
“I can go to sleep knowing I did everything I could and we still have everything to play for.”
It was appreciably a gut-wrenching day for team principal Christian Horner, but he has no doubts his team will come out fighting in the next race in Brazil in a fortnight.
“Some days motor racing can be cruel and for Red Bull today it was unfortunately one of those days,” said Horner.
“We gave Fernando a big present today, but it was only two weeks ago we were celebrating a one-two finish (in Japan) and we’ll be back in Brazil.”