Sebastian Vettel says the time he lost behind Jenson Button was crucial to his chance of victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Vettel hounded eventual winner Lewis Hamilton throughout the opening stint but dropped back after his first stop due to being stuck behind the McLaren of Jenson Button.
Vettel also lost out to Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen, who stopped once less and was able to defend his position.
“I would have loved the race to have been a bit longer, as it was fun with Kimi at the end,” he said.
“It’s hard to pass on this track, I got close but I wasn’t in the prime overtaking spot at that point; I was trying to set something up for the next corners, but it didn’t work.”
“The key issue in the race was when I got stuck behind Jenson, there’s no one to blame for that, I lost more time than expected on the way into the first stop and we came out just behind him. I couldn’t get past; I tried to force it and damaged my front wing, which was a mistake from my side. I was maybe trying to urge a bit too much. It was close with Kimi and nice to be on the podium again today.”
Team principal Christian Horner added “Probably the decisive moment in Sebastian’s race was after the first stop when he emerged behind Jenson Button. We weren’t able to get past quickly and sustained a bit of wing damage.”
“That then effectively released Lewis and put us back into the realms of fighting with Kimi on a two stop. However, despite the damage, Sebastian was able to maintain a very strong pace and pushed all the way to the flag.”
Vettel nonetheless extends his championship lead to 38 points with nine races remaining.