Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel has defended the pit stop that put paid to his hopes of victory at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, insisting the Maranello team had “no option”. The four-time Formula One world champion was called in for a second stop under the virtual safety car as the Italian side looked to make gains with the rest of the field speed-restricted.
But the move backfired as Sergio Perez delayed Sebastian Vettel’s safe release and saw him re-emerge behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who beat the 30-year-old to the final place on the podium. However, Vettel – now trailing race winner Lewis Hamilton by 17 points in the drivers’ standings – says rapid tyre wear had become an issue for the team and that they had no choice but to bring him in for that costly second stop: “For us it was not an option to stay out. We were going through the tyres quicker than the others today. It looks different and it looks wrong, but from the inside I think it was the right thing to do. Overall we were a little bit quicker [than Verstappen] but as the laps went on, we just didn’t have enough pace. He was doing more or less the same [lap times]. We were just not quick enough and even at the end I was not in a healthy shape with the tyres even though mine were the freshest. It’s hard to say how it would have been without the [compound] change. I think it probably impacted more on us than the others. Overall it has been a decent weekend, we just need to understand for tyres what to do.I think we have the same ones for Paul Ricard and Silverstone so we need to have a look.” – Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel concluded.