The German rejected his team’s instructions and, speaking to Sky Sports after the race he explained what had happened.
He said: “It’s pretty simple, we had nothing to lose. I think we were trying to compensate until the end of the race, obviously we would catch the cars in the lead and then they clashed for their second stop.
“I was in no hurry to catch them and [I was] manage my tires and then I was told to push, which I did.
“Then I was asked if I could go all the way – they could have asked me three laps before! I repeatedly asked what was the goal? How far do we want to go? So I can take care of my tires. I said we would try to do it.
“The last five laps have been really, really tough. To be honest, it helped us. This is not always the case, but today. I think we took that risk because we had nothing to lose and it paid off, but it was not the plan before the race to do close enough to 40 laps on the soft tire. ”
Vettel won the driver of the day award, moving from 11th on the grid to seventh, but added that the Ferrari was still a long way from where he wanted them.
He stated: ” [It is] mixed, to be honest. Always up and down. Some sessions are better than others. The first stint was pretty poor, the second stint I felt a lot more in control of the car. Work to do on my side. ”
Before you leave…
Hamilton breaks podium record with dominant victory at Spanish Grand Prix
MotoGP: Valentino Rossi avoids potentially fatal crash at Austrian Grand Prix