Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel admitted that the decision for him to make three stops during the Spanish Grand Prix was a mistake that potentially cost him a shot at victory on Sunday, especially after the two Mercedes cars crashed out in turn three.
"I couldn’t see what really happened, I just saw two Silver Arrow cars crashing into one another," said Vettel. "All in all I think I had high hopes after turn four to go and win the race."
In the end, Vettel finished in third place ahead of Daniel Ricciardo who had gone for the same approach to the race, while both drivers ahead of them - race winner Max Verstappen and runner-up Kimi Raikkonen - opted to make two long runs on medium compound tyres rather than use soft tyres and make an additional stop like their respective team mates.
"It was an interesting race, we tried everything to get ahead and we were surprised by how superior the two stop was," said Vettel. "We could see, both for myself and Daniel, that the three stop wasn’t really superior.
"We tried everything, we split the cars strategies but obviously on my side it was the worst strategy in hindsight.
"We tried to go a different route with the three stops and I was able to close up to Daniel quickly, half a second a lap, but overall it was the difference on the medium tyre which is what we spent the majority of the race on.
"We struggled a little on the medium compound this afternoon. That was the slower tyre for us. In all fairness we were quicker than the Red Bulls on the softs by half a second but on the mediums we were the same or not enough to create something.
"It doesn’t matter now, Max won the race and congratulations to him, it is very special to win your first race and he deserves it. He did a great race, I saw those two [Verstappen and Raikkonen] fighting ahead while us two were fighting."