MONTMELO – Sebastian Vettel felt frustrated to have lost second place to Lewis Hamilton in the final stages of the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, but felt that P3 was the best result Ferrari could manage given the relative pace of its car.
Vettel made a good start to leapfrog Hamilton into second place by the end of the first lap, and defended well to keep the Briton back and force him to switch to a three-stop strategy.
Despite showing good pace on the medium compound tire, Vettel faded in the final part of the grand prix when he switched to hards before ultimately finishing 45 seconds down on the race winner.
Speaking after the race, Vettel said he was disappointed to lose second place, but thought that Mercedes deserved its one-two finish in Barcelona.
“Well to be honest I thought it would be tricky to keep him behind,” Vettel said. “They were a fair amount quicker as we saw at the end of the race.
“Obviously we were a bit lucky, at the first pit stop Lewis had a problem, so we were able to stay ahead. I think we reacted as well as we could.
“Then he decided to pit very early and go for a three-stop. I think it was our best chance to stay out, which is what we did, but unfortunately I came out in a bit of traffic. Lost maybe a couple of seconds, two or three seconds, which would have been just enough to stay in front.”
“With the speed they had, they deserved to finish in front of us today. So well done to them.”
Vettel believes that Ferrari has made progress since the last race in Bahrain, though, and remains confident for the upcoming races.
“For us, I’m pretty confident we will get closer again pretty soon, so hopefully in two weeks’ time it will be a different picture,” Vettel said.
“I think we’ve done a step forwards as a team in terms of performance. Obviously it doesn’t really show here but I’m quite confident for the next couple of races.”