Sebastian Vettel: “Mercedes were just a bit quicker”

Sebastian Vettel was forced to settle for third in Japan, but felt there was nothing more he could have done to have stayed ahead of Nico Rosberg, admitting he was surprised by the pace of his fellow German driver on the out lap following his second pit stop.

Scuderia Ferrari driver Vettel had jumped into second on the first lap after Rosberg was forced wide by his Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team-mate Lewis Hamilton, and thought he had enough gap during the pit stops to remain ahead, but saw Rosberg sweep past into second.

“All in all, today there is plenty of reasons to be happy with third place,” said Vettel. “At the second round of pit-stops, we were surprised by the out lap that Nico pulled. I guess we thought the gap was big enough, so you can’t say we made a mistake.

“But in the end it’s a bit of a shame when you cross the line; I think that if we could have stayed ahead it would have been difficult for Nico to pass, as around there it is not so easy to get close, and we saw that he struggled a long time with [Valtteri] Bottas.

“But we have to accept that Mercedes were just a bit quicker and for this reason they deserved to be ahead. Nevertheless, third and fourth is a great result for the team. We got good points, and it was a strong recovery after a difficult Saturday morning.”