Sebastian Vettel insists Ferrari took the right decision to pit for a second time in the Spanish Grand Prix despite missing out on a podium finish.
A good start saw Vettel up to second place behind Lewis Hamilton and he was able to retain that position after the first pit stops, having been the first of the frontrunners to pit on lap 17. Valtteri Bottas only stopped two laps later as Mercedes was set to two-stop, but the one-stopping Red Bulls forced Bottas to change strategy and attempt to reach the end.
Vettel was still second when a Virtual Safety Car was deployed with 27 laps remaining, but Ferrari opted to pit again for more medium tires, dropping him to fourth place, where he remained stuck behind Max Verstappen.
“We couldn’t make the tires last so for us, it was clear we come in again, I think it was the right thing to do,” Vettel said. “If you look from outside it’s easier, but inside the car, we were going through the tires too quick. Therefore we were not able to stay out for another 23 laps. Even in the end, with a fresher set, I wasn’t able to attack until the end.”
Vettel only just ended up behind Verstappen when putting under the VSC, but the Ferrari driver was less concerned about analyzing if he could have stayed ahead and believes the system to slow cars when there’s an incident needs revisiting.
“With the VSC, a couple of things. Yeah, you have to slow down, the tires are getting cold and it was my mistake, I came into the box maybe a bit hot. Well cold with the tires! I overshot the position and then the guys have to reshuffle. And I think that cost us a bit of time. We had some traffic in the pit lane. I’m not sure, I need to have a look. It’s not ideal.
“It’s the same for everyone. The FIA is supplying us with a system that makes us follow a delta time. So everyone has to slow down by 40 percent. But I think everyone is aware you can have a faster way to go under Virtual Safety Car other than just follow the delta, by saving distance.
“We should have a system that doesn’t have a hole in because it forces us to drive ridiculous lines around the track. Everyone is doing it so I don’t think it’s a secret. I think our sport should be in a better shape than supplying a software that is just poor, and allows us to find some extra performance that way. It’s the same for everyone.”