Sebastian Vettel admitted that his failure to get past Valtteri Bottas quickly was the main reason why he failed to win the Spanish Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton bounced back from his disappointing display in Russia last month to win a superb race in Barcelona on Sunday although he was indebted to his Mercedes team-mate Bottas for frustrating Vettel.
Vettel was leading when he decided to pit before Hamilton and he then rejoined the race behind Bottas who kept the Championship leader at bay for several laps.
“We lost a lot of time fighting Valtteri,” Vettel said. “We lost four seconds. I was catching him but I knew they wouldn’t pit him.
“I was really happy when I finally got last Bottas but then I looked down and I’d lost an awful lot of time so I wasn’t that happy because the real fight was with Lewis.
“I think we did the right thing on strategy. We made eight seconds disappear for the second stop. If you add [that and being held up by Bottas] it’s 12 seconds and it would have been a bit better, but that’s how it goes.”
Vettel has finished either first or second in each of the first five races of the year and is six points ahead of Hamilton in the title race.