The German made a superb start to proceedings in Sochi, quickly overtaking his team-mate to claim P1. However, thereafter he was asked to let Leclerc past, which he initially refused to do due to the gap between the two cars.
Later, at a pitstop, Ferrari swapped the drivers around with Leclerc going ahead. Vettel was subsequently forced to retire due to an engine issue soon after and when pressed after the race as to what the tactic was before the confusion, he didn’t give much away.
“Well I don’t know exactly what happened there, to be honest. I spoke with Charles, in particular, before the race, and it was quite clear,” he said of the strategy.
“I don’t know. Maybe I missed something. I’m sure we will talk about it. We pitted today because we wanted the cars finishing one and two.
“Not the result we wanted.
“I don’t know if I want to share. I don’t want to put the team in a bad position afterwards because somebody said something here.
“I know it’s not fair as people deserve to know, it’s not a big deal. I was in third, Charles was in first, and we were talking about a strategy to find a way past Lewis.
“Obviously, I had a very good start and there were a couple of options on the day.
“Sorry, but I prefer not to,” he admitted after deciding not to divulge anything more.
Vettel’s decision to ignore team orders and focus on his own drive, initially, comes after his first win of the campaign in Singapore, and when asked whether he was more fired up than previously in the season, he reckons it wouldn’t have been hard to become more energised than he was.
“I think I was fired down beforehand!” he replied facetiously.
“It has been a bit up and down. It was a matter of time before things clicked.
“The positive thing overall is that the car is good. Today was the first race we had more pace than Mercedes.”
The four-time world champion was then asked if things would be less confusuing if he and Leclerc were just allowed to race, and he said they were racing before Ferrari changed the places at the pitstop.
“I think that’s what we did. I think that’s what we did until the pitstop in a way because obviously I lost the lead during the pit-stop and then the car broke down so it was a bit irrelevant,” he explained.