Vettel ended Lewis Hamilton’s two-race winning streak last weekend by taking victory at the Belgian Grand Prix, cutting the Brit’s lead at the top of the F1 World Drivers’ Championship to just 17 points.
And teams have a tight turnaround this week, leaving Spa on Sunday night and heading south to Italy and Monza ahead of the first practice session on Friday morning.
But Ferrari, along with two other F1 teams, stopped off in Milan for a fan festival where the cars took over the streets of the Italian city’s Navigli quarter.
However, it did not go entirely to plan as Vettel understeered through a low-speed left-handed corner and shunted his front wing into the barriers.
The wing broke but did not fall off and Vettel reversed before taking his car back to the Ferrari mechanics for them to fix.
F1 cars are notoriously difficult to handle at low speeds because the tyres and brakes lose temperature too quickly and the aerodynamics need air that travels at high speeds.
But Vettel explained that the accident was down to some confusion with the steering wheel.
“I apologised,” Vettel said.
“I went with the car and the steering wheel of Kimi, who had the clutch on the other side.
“I didn’t think about it, and at that point I was too fast.
“I asked if it would be possible to change the wing to do two more laps for the fans.
“Obviously it was my mistake, but that’s OK.”
The event will continue through to Saturday although it will not continue to feature the F1 drivers who turned up on Wednesday.
Vettel was joined by team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, Sauber drivers Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson, and Toro Rosso pair Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley.
And the German will hope to put the minor shunt out of his mind quickly as Ferrari head to their home race at Monza, where they will be look to continue to show off their superior engine power, a relatively new development in the battle with Mercedes.
“I think it’s a huge compliment if people praise our engine because the last five years people didn’t praise anything other than Mercedes engines,” Vettel said.
”So it’s good to have that change and I think it makes Maranello and all the Ferraristi and our engine department very happy.
“Everybody involved can be very proud.
“I think the key is not only that, the key is teamwork, the car is also working in all sorts of tracks, is efficient and I think that’s the key to bringing everything together. We take it.
“We had our deficits last year, I think we had a car that worked really well on twisty tracks where a lot of downforce was required.
“But we were missing out on tracks where the car needs to be more efficient like here, like Silverstone usually and a couple of other tracks.
“This year the car seems to be more robust in that regard and seems to work everywhere.
“Needless to say we improved the package as well – the power unit – so on all fronts I think we’ve done a step forward.
“But yes, it is a key to have a car that works everywhere because that has been our weakness and I think we tackled it fairly well.”