The German may be 34 points adrift with five races remaining but his strong showing will give him confidence as he revealed only excessive wear of his tyres prevented him attacking for a place on the podium. Stroll, who finished eighth in Malaysia, appeared to drift into the Ferrari driver as they ran side-by-side through Turn 5. The German's vehicle was badly damaged in the incident, limping along on three wheels, with Vettel then hitching a ride back to the pits on compatriot Pascal Wehrlein's Sauber.
Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was wiping his face anxiously moments before the start. Stroll said he had been driving slowly back into the pitlane, steering a normal line and going through switch changes.
The Malaysian GP at Sepang will start at 3pm local time, 12:30pm IST, 7am GMT. "There's still work to do to try and fix it but I think it's a fundamental issue with this year's auto". "It's far from ideal, but it's one of those things that happens sometimes".
"I'm pretty certain we would have had a very good auto today but we'll never know what would have happened so it's a bit pointless to talk about it".
Do you think Vettel or Stroll was at fault for the collision?
Speaking about the incident after the race, the 30-year-old said, per Sky Sports: "Stroll completely shunted into my vehicle". "It was more entertaining, the first couple of laps in particular". Towards the closing stages of the race, Vettel was already hassling Ricciardo for third place, although he would ultimately have to settle for fourth.
"That's impossible", Vettel said later. "He's shunted into my auto".
He was given a ride back to the pits by Pascal Wehrlein's Sauber.
Race stewards later ruled "no driver was wholly or predominantly to blame for the incident" and took no action.
"I went on the outside to pick up a bit of rubber".
That said, a coming together between Vettel and Williams driver Lance Stroll after the race had finished, which left the wrecked Ferrari needing to be lifted from the track, provided a freakish ending to the race.
"I think Valtteri [Bottas, who finished fifth] obviously seemed to struggle a lot more and I was able to just pull a little bit more out of it I guess".
Vettel´s world championship hopes suffered a huge blow when he lost power leaving his Ferrari without a completed lap in first qualifying.
Verstappen won by almost 13 seconds from Hamilton to embellish what has been a tough season after he failed to finish seven races and only once reached the podium.
Vettel had moved up to fourth place with 10 laps to go.