Starting a lowly ninth on the grid, the German pitted for mediums on Lap 15 and tried to reach the chequered flag without stopping again. Vettel went as far as the penultimate lap when he suffered a right rear tyre failure while fighting over third place with Lotus’ Romain Grosjean.
“I understand Ferrari because it was probably their only chance to get on the podium,” said Wolff. “If they’d gone an extra stop they would have for sure, ending up P6 or P7 and so they attempted it but it was a risky strategy.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes enjoyed a fairly smooth ride at Spa, as championship leader Lewis Hamilton and title rival Nico Rosberg cruised to another dominant 1-2 and finished some 37s clear of Grosjean.
Yet, Wolff insists this was not all plain sailing for the defending champions and takes special satisfaction from his team’s reaction after failing to finish on the podium at Budapest last month.
“[The result is] very important and this is why I am so happy. I was very happy [on Saturday], in Q1 we were the only ones on prime and we finished 1 & 2 after Q1 and it showed the solid pace of the car.
“So we’re happy, it wasn’t an easy race, you could have opted for one stop also with the Virtual Safety Car, as we’ve seen in the other formulas, it could have potentially had many ingredients for problems.
“To come out of this in the way we did, it’s really satisfying.”
With Ferrari experiencing a low-scoring weekend in Belgium, Mercedes’ lead over the Maranello-based squad in the Constructors’ standings has now extended to 184 points.
Click here for Sunday's gallery of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.