Sebastian Vettel said he was unaware that Charles Leclerc had been put onto a different strategy at the Spanish Grand Prix.
However, Ferrari did themselves few favours with their strategy. Twice during the race the faster Ferrari was behind the other, meaning Vettel and Leclerc swapped at different stages, but the confusion was evident with the German believing he and his team-mate were on the same strategy.
“We talk about it internally,” Vettel told reporters after the race.
“Inside the car we try to do our own race. I think in the beginning it was clear that Charles was faster so I was happy to let him go, in the second stint I wasn’t aware we were on different strategies for a long time but once it was clear, I was let go and I was a lot faster and tried to put pressure on Max, but in the end it didn’t really matter.”
After the safety car was deployed to cover a clash between Lando Norris and Lance Stroll, Vettel closed up to P3 runner Max Verstappen, but after the re-start he made no impression on the Dutchman who went on to claim the final podium spot.
“I was struggling to see stuff and I was also slow and I was compromised in my first time,” he confessed.
“Afterwards my pace was fine but from there it was difficult, the safety car gave us a chance but we were the same pace as Max so it was almost impossible to pass.”
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) May 12, 2019
Vettel’s race was compromised from the start when an attack on the Mercedes pair resulted in him locking up and flat-spotting his tyres, and the four-time World Champion believes this was a major reason why he couldn’t threaten the podium.
“I think today as the race happened, we maximised the points,” he explained.
“I think we had a shot at the podium but in Turn 1, I had a flat spot and compromised my own race.
“I wanted to try something to mix things up. I knew that I wouldn’t win the race at Turn 1 but at least I thought we could mix things up with Mercedes and have a bit more of a fight with everybody.
“After that, I think Charles was on a different strategy and with the safety car, his strategy was thrown to bits.”
The German doesn’t believe he is out of the title picture though, as long as he approaches the season race-by-race.
“That’s what we’ve done so far. I think at this point, nobody has at any point been looking at the Championship. We’re going race by race,” he stressed.
“We’ll see, it’s a disappointing weekend for us, we were hoping to be a lot faster. Now we find ourselves not so fast. But I think we can only come back from where we are now.”