Vettel says Ferrari was ‘caught by surprise’

Sebastian Vettel says that Ferrari was "caught by surprise" after both he and team-mate Kimi Räikkönen hit tyre issues in the closing stages of the British Grand Prix.

Räikkönen and Vettel held second and third after the first round of stops, where most of the frontrunners took on Soft tyres, having initially run Super Softs.

However, the recovering Valtteri Bottas, who started ninth due to a gearbox penalty, put pressure on Ferrari, as he ran the alternative Soft/Super Soft strategy.

Shortly after he made a move on Vettel, the Ferrari drivers suffered front-left tyre failures, forcing them back to the pits for fresh rubber, and handing Mercedes a 1-2 finish.

Vettel had pitted slightly early, to clear Red Bull's Max Verstappen, but refused to blame Ferrari for running a risky strategy, amid Pirelli's two-stop suggestion.

"I don't think there's anyone particularly to blame," said Vettel, whose title advantage has been cut to just one point, following Lewis Hamilton's victory.

"Hindsight is great, with that it's easy, but at the time it felt OK. Kimi I think had similar issue, his tyres were I think at least five or six laps fresher.

"I think it caught us both by surprise."

Asked if his and Ferrari's weekend was disastrous in their push for both titles, Vettel replied: "I think it could have been a little bit better, for sure. But a disaster? I don't think so.

"I think we had a good car, especially in the corners, and the balance was alright.

"My brakes caught fire at the start which compromised start and from there it was a difficult race.

"We didn't get past Max, we did it with a pit-stop, then it was looking like P3 or P4 – it was clear that Valtteri would come. Obviously, he benefited in the beginning because I got stuck.

"Overall, small things here and there that led into a busy afternoon."

Expanding on his battle with Verstappen, who defended boldly throughout, Vettel added: "I'm sure it looked good, but yeah… I wanted to make it past, and I didn't.

"It was quite tricky and I tried everything [to pass]."

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