Sebastian Vettel admitted that he was delighted to pick up a surprise second place in the Monaco Grand Prix, having spent most of the afternoon looking for a way to pass Nico Rosberg for the position.

Both Germans benefited when Lewis Hamilton's crew called him for a late tyre change under the safety car that covered the rescue of Max Verstappen's crashed Toro Rosso, moving up to first and second places respectively ahead of an eight-lap blast to the chequered flag. Just as in the early part of the race, Vettel had no answer to Rosberg, who pulled away to win by five seconds, and spent the final laps trying to keep both a fired-up Hamilton and hopeful Daniel Ricciardo at bay.

"We tried all race to put pressure on Nico but, first of all, he had the speed to respond and, second, when we decided to pit, we were a little too far back so the undercut didn't work," the German confirmed, "We were trying everything to jump him, but they reacted straight away. It was a shame I had to lap a Manor as I think I was close enough to Nico [before that] - whether it would have been enough, I don't know."

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Despite not being able to challenge for victory, the four-time world champion admitted that he was happily take the runners-up trophy while there were mixed emotions in the rival Mercedes camp.

"P2 is a great result for the team," he confirmed, "It's good to be always there and I think we were closer in the race than in qualifying so, hopefully, we can keep up this trend.

"Obviously, it was a bit of a turnaround at the end, a bit of a surprise, but we were there at the moment it mattered and were able to just pip Lewis as he came out of the pits. I think it was pretty close, but I was confident I was ahead."

Asked whether he had been given thought to swapping his ageing soft compound Pirellis for a new set of supersofts in the way that Hamilton did, Vettel explained that, while the move had been discussed earlier in the race, there had been no call when the safety car came out.

"Depending on the gaps to the cars behind, we spoke about some options at various times but, at that time, we decided to stay out," he stated, even though staying out meant it was a struggle for grip at the restart.

"These tyres are not made for cooling down and then going again, so obviously, even though I think both Nico and myself had saved the tyres when we knew that it was difficult to catch Lewis, on the restart it was incredibly difficult to warm the tyres up.

"I had Lewis behind on a fresh set of supersofts and in much better shape but, for all of us, it was like being handicapped for two or three laps. Nico drove very well after the restart and there was no chance for me to stay close, so I had to make sure I kept the cars behind."