Sebastian Vettel has admitted Ferrari’s “aggressive strategy” cost them a potential Australian Grand Prix victory as the German lost the lead to Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg.
Vettel led after Turn 1 after making a great start and began to pull away from the chasing pack. However a red flag – caused by Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez contact – halted the race and cut his lead down to zero.
During the stoppage, Mercedes chose to switch Rosberg’s strategy to a two-stop, putting him on the harder medium tyre. Ferrari meanwhile kept Vettel on the softer compound, which meant he had to pit for a third time later in the race and that cost him the lead.
“We went for the aggressive route,” Vettel said. “Maybe with hindsight we could have done something else, but I don’t want to blame anyone. It’s a shame the other car didn’t make it but it is positive.
“You can argue the red flag didn’t help us, but once it plays into our favour and then another it catches you out.”
Despite eventually finishing third behind Lewis Hamilton as well, he believes the team are in a good position for the season.
“The team is in good shape, we know we can up our game and put pressure on these guys,” he added.
“Definitely we were a lot closer than last year. This was one of our worse tracks. We expected to be stronger in qualifying, that wasn’t the case as we had a bit of a rough session.
“We are on the right track and things are coming together. All in all we are a lot closer so plenty of positives.”