Championship leader Sebastian Vettel expressed that, he lost “an awful lot of time” when Mercedes played with Valtteri Bottas to “defends” him through his Spanish Grand Prix battle with race winner Lewis Hamilton.
Pole-sitter Hamilton lost the lead to Vettel at the start, following the German keeps his pace perfectly, Vettel came in for his first stop at the end of lap 14 and he took on the quickest compound – soft tyre.
Hamilton made his first stop at the end of lap 21, taking on the more durable medium rubber, following Mercedes start the play with temporary leader Bottas.
The German, however, had greater cause for concern in the form of the other Mercedes with Bottas, yet to stop, holding him up. On lap 25 Vettel made his move ahead of Bottas.
“I am not happy, it [the win] was there, Lewis had the luxury to stay out and choose a different tyre. With Valtteri I was catching him and I knew they wouldn’t pit him. said Vettel.
“He was all over the place with the tyres, so they used him a bit to block me. He still somehow managed to get a decent exit [from the chicane] so I couldn’t do it first time,” said Vettel.
“Second time I thought I had to find a way even if it was on the grass. It was really close, I faked it on the inside, then went back on the outside and inside again, but nearly lost the car as I had DRS open – but it worked.
“I looked down and I had lost an awful lot of time.” The German added.
Vandoorne, Massa turn one incident made a Virtual Safety Car period and open a great opportunity for Mercedes. During the VSC Hamilton made the pit for his second and final stop.
“I don’t know how I managed to lose eight seconds,” Vettel says in the cooldown room.
“When I came out of the pits I was surprised it was close because I thought I had eight seconds in hand. That could have brought a cushion.” Vettel added.