Sebastian Vettel insisted that his fourth place finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix wasn't a reflection on his pace after the Red Bull man failed to break onto the podium in Budapest.
Vettel had qualified on the second row of the grid at the Hungaroring but lost a place at the start of the race to the McLaren of Jenson Button and then found himself stuck behind the Briton throughout the opening stint of the race.
Although he finally managed to jump ahead of the McLaren ace after the second round of stops, Vettel still found himself down in fourth after Kimi Raikkonen managed to run a long second stint to make up positions although he was able to put pressure on Romain Grosjean for the final spot on the podium.
However, despite taking on fresh soft tyres in an attempt to jump the Frenchman, Vettel ran out of laps to make a move for position and finished just a second away from a podium finish in fourth.
“I think our overall speed was better than the actual result we got today,” he said. “I was stuck behind Jenson in the first stint; he was slower and we lost some time there, but of course you can't just pit and come out in clean air, there's traffic, so there's not much we could have done.
“The tyres were not too bad at the end, but we thought that we should try something, the tyres on the cars in front could have fallen off, but it didn't happen. The race pace was very good, so now it's up to us to do better in qualifying and at the start; then it's a different race.”
Team boss Christian Horner said the decision to go to a three-stop strategy was a risk worth taking, even if it didn't pay off in the end.
“In the heat of the afternoon, it was a long and tough race,” he said. “Seb challenged Grosjean around the outside into Turn 1 and got high on the kerb, which allowed Button to get a run round the outside into Turn 2. Thereafter we lost quite a bit of time behind Jenson in the first and second stint.
“Jenson pitted early and we managed to use track position and good pit work to get Sebastian out ahead of him. Coming back out Sebastian had good pace, but then got caught in traffic behind Grosjean and we decided to go onto a three-stop race. It was great work today by the pit crew and they managed to get Sebastian in and out again ahead of Alonso; he then chased down the leaders over the last ten laps, but unfortunately there weren't quite enough laps left.”