The most spectacular collision of an incident-packed grand prix put both drivers out of the race on lap 39.
"At one point I couldn't accelerate and then I went hard on the brakes and tried to brake as hard as was possible, but the accident wasn't recoverable," Schumacher said.
"Obviously I feel sorry for Jean-Eric... but we need to find out what happened."
Vergne, who sportingly put his arm around Schumacher after the crash, called it a shame but refused to be angry with the veteran German.
"I was pretty focused on overtaking (Sauber's Sergio) Perez. I had a good move on him and at the end, braking, I just got hit by Michael," he said.
"It's done, I have nothing to say. It's just a shame. It doesn't make any sense to be pissed off about it."
The crash prompted the second safety car of the race, after a mishap involving HRT's Narain Karthikeyan. There were several other near-misses and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was forced out with a mechanical problem while leading.
The race was preceded by a sombre minute's silence for Formula One doctor Sid Watkins, who died this month and was credited with vastly improving safety standards in the high-speed sport.