Sebastian Vettel said he was happy enough with his fourth-place finish in Spain
World Champion said podium finishers had better speed and tyre wear
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 12/05/13 6:40pm
The defending World Champion and current points leader was favourite ahead of the race but instead went backwards over its 66 laps.
After qualifying third on the grid, Vettel passed Lewis Hamilton for second place at the first corner but lost the place to eventual winner Fernando Alonso after making the first of four pit stops on lap 11.
The Red Bull driver was subsequently passed by second-placed finisher Kimi Raikkonen as well, with Ferrari also using clever strategy to propel Felipe Massa ahead of Vettel and on to the podium.
"I think we can be happy with fourth - at least we have to be," Vettel told Sky Sports F1 afterwards. "The first three cars were a little bit too fast for us. Especially looking after their tyres, they did a better job today."
Vettel was not the only driver to suffer with his rubber during the race, which saw a total of 82 pit stops. Pirelli have since said they will address the situation in time for the British Grand Prix.
"There's obviously three people that did better today, so we need to catch up," the German said of his car's tyres. "But surely we are not going the pace of the car; we are going the pace of the tyres."
Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber finished fifth. When asked to sum up the race by Ted Kravitz, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said: "Tyres, tyres and more tyres.
"Unfortunately today we were a bit too heavy, especially on our front tyres. Fourth and fifth was the maximum."
Prompted for an explanation, Horner said: "I think with this place, there's some very long corners and front tyres have been the limiting factor here.
"The balance moves around from track to track, car to car. Different cars suit situations. Ferrari have done a great job today - both their drivers have been quick on track - and Lotus as well.
"We were too hard on the front tyres and then you end up in a compromise. We had to go slower, you don't have the duration, and fourth was the maximum."
Although both Vettel and Red Bull could not compete in Barcelona, they still lead the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships.
"It's still plenty of points," Horner added. "We had fantastic pit work from the guys again today. On the days you can't win, you've got to take what you can."