Sebastian Vettel 'will always defend' Ferrari amid Singapore GP strategy call

Sebastian Vettel leapt to Ferrari’s defence amid criticism for its “aggressive” strategy during Formula 1’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Vettel jumped Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for second on the opening lap and was the first of the front-runners to pit when he came in on lap 14 of 61.

Vettel discarded Hypersofts for Ultrasofts but filtered back on track behind the yet-to-stop Sergio Perez, while Verstappen stayed out for another three laps.

Singapore Grand Prix: Race result | Drivers' standings | Constructors' standings

Verstappen, along with race leader Lewis Hamilton, took on Soft tyres at his stop and managed to come out of the pits side-by-side with Vettel.

Verstappen held the inside line to keep Vettel at bay and their positions remained unchanged throughout the remainder of the race, as the Ferrari driver lost further ground in the title battle.

“I think overall we were not fast enough,” said Vettel, who is now 40 points behind Hamilton with six Grands Prix remaining.

“We didn’t have the pace in the race. But also I think we tried to be aggressive in the beginning and obviously it didn’t work out.

“After that I think I had a different race from the other guys, on a different tyre, and I wasn’t very convinced that we could make it to the end, but pitting wasn’t an option because you lose too much time in the pit stop. So we just focused on making it home.”

When pressed further on the choice to take on Ultrasofts, Vettel said: “I think the decision we took in the race, the decisions to try to be aggressive, if it works it’s great, today it didn't work.

“Obviously it didn’t work by quite a bit and we need to look into that.

“But I believe we saw something and that’s why we go for it. Obviously inside the car it’s difficult to be on top of everything because you cannot see where you come out etc.

“We were aggressive in trying to get ahead, taking into account that we have to go through traffic, which in the end bit us also, to lose the second place.

“If it doesn’t work it is always easy to criticise but I will always defend what we did.”