• Chinese GP

Misunderstanding led to team order refusal - Vettel

ESPN Staff
April 20, 2014 « Alonso 'surprised' by podium | Vettel did not cost Ricciardo third - Horner »
Sebastian Vettel (left) initially held off Daniel Ricciardo's attempts to pass © Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel admitted a misunderstanding of Daniel Ricciardo's pit strategy led him to initially refuse Red Bull's request to move over for his team-mate in China.

On lap 24 Ricciardo closed up on Vettel, who received a message from the pit wall to let his team-mate through, only to ask in reply which tyres his team-mate was on. After being told by race engineer Guillaume Roquelin that Ricciardo was also on primes, but stopped later than him, Vettel simply said "tough luck" in reply.

A second message from the pit wall told Vettel he was on a different pit strategy to Ricciardo, and he appeared to finally yield coming through Turn 1 one lap later, which he confirmed he was happy to do once he received clarification on strategy.

"Yes, there was no point holding him back further," Vettel said when asked if he did in fact led Ricciardo through. "He was quite a lot quicker. At the stage we had different strategies and once I was told that I decided to let him go. I started to realise towards the end I couldn't hold him back."

"I think it made more sense, I was not quick enough. The team priority at that point from a team point of view, which was probably correct, was to push Daniel and give Fernando a hard time which didn't work. It was quite obvious that he was quicker today."

When asked what went wrong in China, Vettel replied: "I don't know, I think the first stint looked alright and then the last stint on the primes was just as slow."

Vettel himself was later changed on to a two-stop strategy but still finished over 20 seconds behind Ricciardo. It is the second time in two races Vettel has been asked to move over for Ricciardo but he insisted he is still not daunted by his team-mate's current form.

"I think it is good Daniel gets along with the car and gets the maximum out of it. It's a good reference. At the moment the gap is very big and I need to work on that. Daniel is showing there is more in the car than I can get to at the moment.

"I don't think there was a problem with the car. At the moment he seems to just get more out of the car than I do. At the moment he seems to get more out of the car than I do. The gap is too big to be something small in terms of set up so we need to have a look and keep working."

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