Sochi – Sebastian Vettel made light of claims that he ignored Ferrari team orders on Sunday after an engine failure ended his hopes of winning the Russian Grand Prix.
The four-time world champion, who made a blistering start and led for 27 laps, smiled when he was told he had been voted ‘driver of the day’ in a fan vote.
But, he said, he was disappointed Ferrari had failed to land a one-two triumph.
“I don’t know exactly what happened,” said Vettel, when asked about a pre-race agreement he had with team-mate Charles Leclerc, who gave him a first lap slipstream to take the lead from third on the grid.
“I think we had an agreement. I spoke with Charles especially before the race. It was quite clear. Maybe I missed something?”
“I’m sure we’ll talk about it,” he added with an enigmatic smile.
“It’s bitter for us today because we wanted to have a one-two and it’s not the result we wanted. I don’t want to share (details about our agreement) and I don’t want to put the team in a bad light.
“We talked about a strategy to get past Lewis and I had a good start. I was in third and Charles was first – we raced and I think that’s what we did until the pit stop when obviously I lost the lead and then the car broke down.”
Vettel, whose victory in Singapore a week earlier was his first for 13 months, admitted: “It’s bitter for me because this year has been tough. I unlocked the car – yesterday Charles was quickest and I can’t be happy with that – and I was on the rhythm today and fastest to the stop.
“The positive thing for me is that the car is faster now. In raw pace, Mercedes have an edge, but this should give them a headache.”