Kamui Kobayashi said seeing his Spa front-row start wasted in the first-lap accident was a "terrible" feeling.
The Japanese driver had achieved the best qualifying result of his Formula 1 career with second behind Jenson Button, but made a slow start and was involved in the first corner clash that removed Romain Grosjean, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.
Kobayashi made it to the finish in 13th despite damage to his car from the incident.
"This is a terrible race result after doing so well in qualifying. There was nothing I could do when a car came flying into mine at the start," he said. "I had to pit once for some repairs and then again after seven laps because of a slow puncture.
"During the race I didn't really know how bad the damage to the car was, but I could see a tyre print on the cockpit all the time. Later in parc ferme I understood why the car was so slow."
His Sauber teammate Sergio Perez, who started fourth, was taken out in the crash.
"I am very disappointed for myself and the team because this was a great opportunity for us to fight for a victory," he said. "Cars came from behind and hit me, it was a big mess."
Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn promised the team would bounce back.
"It is very disappointing that once again factors beyond our control have ruined the race," she said. "We have to take the positive out of the weekend and if we don't make any mistakes and get qualifying right we can be at the front. That is the target for the next race."