"It was completely my fault".
Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, Vettel's 2007 champion teammate who has yet to stand on the podium this season and not been on pole since 2008, slipped 34 points behind - half as many as the German.
"Also for me, leaving today here is a little bit odd feeling".
- With two wins and a second position, Vettel has his best start to a season for Ferrari, equalling his best ever in F1 (2011 for Red Bull when he ended up winning the championship). "Apologies to the team but I tried the best I could to recover it and we still got good points for today", the Guardian quoted Hamilton as saying of his error.
Hamilton started second on the grid but lost out to Vettel on the run down to Turn One which set the tone for his trouble-filled afternoon.
Lewis Hamilton insists he will come out fighting after his pit-stop blunder cost him a shot at victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The stewards took a dim view of Hamilton's actions - declaring he drove "unnecessarily slowly and erratically" and slapped him with a five-second timed penalty.
The Ferrari garage took the first big chance of the race when Vettel went in for an early pit on Lap 11, said the report. But when I got to the pitlane it was four seconds.
"The team has done a really, really great job, we need to make sure we keep it going and keep enjoying it. Losing points for the team is definitely painful".
In previous years Mercedes has let its drivers race, confident in the knowledge it was unchallenged for either championship, but the emergence of Ferrari this year has complicated matters - Vettel's win in Bahrain helped put Ferrari in the lead of both championships.
"The beginning for us to be that close was great".
Pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas finished third in his Mercedes, on a day when the Finn struggled for race pace and team-mate Hamilton thrived.
Although he was the first in the leading pack to hit the pit lane after lap 10, it proved a gamble worth taking as his super soft tyres allowed him to gain stronger pace over the Mercedes. Personally, it is tough for me, but that's life. The only goal was the victory.
"But that's how it is and although I didn't like it for my personal race, I am a team player and I understand".
We had an issue with tyre pressure in the first stint but in all the stints we were rear limited.
"I'm really grateful for giving me the opportunity to drive here in Bahrain". Today, I lost a position at the start - exclusively my fault - and then you've got the time lost in the pit lane.
"The pace still wasn't there in the second or third stint and the auto didn't feel as it did yesterday".
"If you look at 20 races past year you could say five or maybe more, there's a handful that weren't flawless but then others were awesome".
Motorsport fans may be thrilled to have a Formula One championship worthy of the name once more but title holders Mercedes want to know why rivals Ferrari can get more out of their tyres and are considering implementing more team orders. I knew what he was doing.
Vettel's Bahrain triumph underlines once more the serious challenge Ferrari appears to pose to Mercedes' Formula 1 hegemony.