Hamilton got a strong start from the second row of the grid and looked to draw alongside Vettel, but had to back off to avoid hitting the Ferrari driver, saying afterwards there could have been a “big collision”.
Vettel – who went on to finish the race in second place behind Hamilton after the latter stopped earlier and gained track position – said Hamilton had been in his blind spot during the initial run-in.
“I think the blind spot is as old as the invention of the mirror so not sure we can do much about that,” said Vettel.
“I think obviously on the first lap a lot of it is guessing where the other people are. Especially when you go into corners.
“Most of the time we see it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I think we all try to do our best. We know we can’t win the race in the first corner but we can lose it.
“I don’t think you can do much about it.”
Speaking specifically about the Hamilton incident, Vettel added: “I didn’t see him. He came after the race as well and asked, but [I had] no intention to push him or anything.
“Obviously, as soon as I saw, I obviously got off and I tried to get in Charles’ tow and I checked the mirrors on the right and the mirrors on the left and that’s when I saw Lewis and then, you know, I tried to go right but before that point I didn’t see him.
“We see quite well in the mirrors but there is still obviously an angle that you can’t see.”
Despite his comments, Hamilton and Vettel joked about their close encounter, and Hamilton said with sincerity that Vettel’s improved form is good for Formula 1 and the fans of close racing.
“Seb’s been driving great recently so it’s been good to see him back up there, driving so well,” added Hamilton.
“Naturally we want to have closer wheel-to-wheel races but on some of these tracks you can’t get too close, unfortunately.”