Sebastian Vettel has said he was left with no choice but to play the team game at Spa after struggling for race pace.
Vettel did initially perform the undercut on Charles Leclerc after their pit stops, but Leclerc was quickly back on his tail and team orders came into effect.
Vettel respected the orders and had to eventually settle for a P4 finish, also behind Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
“For the team I’m happy, but obviously not for myself,” Sebastian Vettel told Sky Sports F1 back in the paddock.
“I didn’t have the pace ultimately, and I was struggling to stay on top of the tyres, which normally is not a problem at all.
“So it was a tough race, and from quite early on it was clear that I wouldn’t be in the fight so all I could from then was serve the team.”
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) September 1, 2019
Vettel was forced into a rear-gunner role for Ferrari, blocking Hamilton to fully ensure that he could not catch eventual race winner Leclerc.
He added: “I couldn’t hold him off for a very long time. I was struggling in the corner which allowed him to get close, and all I could try to do was give Charles a cushion. In the end it was just enough so I did the job.”
Leclerc thanked Vettel for the role he played in his maiden Formula 1 victory.
“Seb has been very nice and without him I think it would have been a lot more difficult to win this race so thanks to him,” Leclerc said.