Sebastian Vettel insists that his record-equalling 13th win of the season nearly didn't happen, after Red Bull appeared unprepared for his second pit-stop.

The four-time world champion appeared to be cruising to victory after dispensing with Nico Rosberg early on, and even as team-mate Mark Webber slowly eroded the deficit between them, but nearly came unstuck as Red Bull anticipated the possible appearance of the safety car following a collision between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

With the Williams stranded at the side of the road, the RBR team on the pit-wall decided to act, but ended up with confusion in pit-lane - and its two cars queuing for service.

Although the crew did not appear to have Vettel's tyres ready for him, the German insists that the call to pit was not his, removing any question that he had attempted to unsettle Webber on his last outing with the team.

"I didn't decide to pit," he stressed, "Obviously, with the weather, it was critical, and we were trying to go as long as possible because we didn't know [when it would rain again]. When it starts to rain and you pit one lap before, you lose a lot of time because you have to come in again to fit inters so, basically, I was told, at the exit of turn twelve, to box if I can.

"I had enough time to get ready [although], arguably, the team was on the limit. Obviously, they were preparing a stop for both cars, so they had to get both set of tyres out, mine and Mark's, and I think it was just a little bit of a rush because the team was afraid of a safety car.

"Obviously, I didn't know what was going on around the track. The team is able to monitor that much better, whereas I'm very good at judging what's going on where I am right now but not five, six corners down the road, and I think that was the reason why I got called in. Unfortunately, it got a bit messy...."

With Vettel still stationary when Webber arrived, and a more competitive Fernando Alonso staying out on track, the delay could have proved costly for Red Bull.

"I think I had three wheels on the car but was waiting for the front right," the German recalled, "For some reason, last year and this year, it seemed to be the front right.... They let me wait for a little bit. I saw that Mark was queuing behind me and I wanted to go but there was a bit of chaos in the pit-lane!

"Obviously, we got the right tyres in the end, got out again and still had a bit of a gap, although we lost [time] to Fernando at that stage, both of us."

Webber, too, was confused at finding the #1 machine in pit-lane as he peeled off.

"I got the call quite early in the lap, as they were worried about a safety car as well," he revealed, "When I braked for the pit-lane line, I looked on the big screen and I could see that Seb was in the box, that he was pitting, and thought 'I hope it's a replay' - but it wasn't. When I got over the top, he was in the bloody box, so I thought 'sh*t, we've got a bit on here now'.

"In that case, mainly we were losing time, that's the biggest thing, but there's also the rear jack guy remembering to get out of the way. Obviously, I'm going to stop, but I have to wait for him to move out of the way... It was obviously a complete surprise, uncharacteristic of the team to do something quite tricky and risky when there wasn't a huge amount to risk. but it turns out that there was an issue at the start of Seb's stop which snowballed into me and then we had the little Spanish lion on the back of me again. It was a good recovery, but I'm sure the team want to do that part again..."

The expected rain only arrived in the closing stages, and then only lightly compared to the downpours of previous days, but Vettel was relieved not to have been under pressure at the end.

"I was still able to have a little bit of a gap and control that until the end, which was very helpful to get through traffic and with the rain coming in and going," he agreed, "You could really see it from the car - the fog was coming and the rain clouds, but you didn't know how strong the rain was. In the end, it was fine all to stay on dries but, with a little harder rain, it could have been a different story, so we were lucky to get away with that."



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