Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari had no option but to switch him onto a two-stop strategy after the Scuderia encountered tyre issues in the Spanish Grand Prix. 

Vettel made a fast-start and swept around the outside of Valtteri Bottas at Turn 1 to snatch second, but was unable to keep up with race-winner Lewis Hamilton as the Briton stretched out a comfortable gap in Spain. 

The Ferrari driver continued to drop off the pace in the second stint and opted to stop for a second time under the Virtual Safety Car period, losing two positions as his rivals all stayed out. 

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But Vettel felt Ferrari was forced into a corner after struggling on his first set of medium tyres and ultimately made the right call to pit him.  

“For us it was not an option for us to stay out,” Vettel explained. “We were going quicker through the tyres today so obviously it looks different and it looks wrong but from the inside I think it was the right thing to do.”

Pirelli introduced revised tyres for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix with reduced tread after overheating and blistering concerns were raised. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was quick to dismiss suggestions had been made in order to favour his team. 

Vettel believes the tyre tweaks - which will also come into effect for races at Paul Ricard and Silverstone - had a negative impact on Ferrari. 

“They’ve changed for here, Silverstone and Paul Ricard. It is hard to say what it would have been without the change and I think it probably impacted us more than the others.

“But overall I think it has been a decent weekend we just need to understand for tyres in time for Paul Ricard and then Silverstone. We will need to have a look.”

Despite having fresher rubber than the one-stopping Max Verstappen in the closing stages, Vettel was unable to pull off a serious challenge to recover to the podium, ultimately finishing fourth as he lost further ground to Hamilton in the championship standings. 

Asked if he felt a move on Verstappen was possible, the German replied: “No, even with his broken wing. I think they can shave off the other side as well. As I said overall we were a little bit quicker and our tyres were fresher and worked well but as the laps went on we just didn’t have enough pace – as simple as that. 

“He was doing more or less the same so just not quick enough and even at the end I was not in a healthy shape with the tyres despite the fact that mine were the freshest.”

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