Motor racing-Vettel refuses to blame Ferrari for win that got away

MONTREAL, June 12 (Reuters) - Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel refused to blame his team for a wrong strategy call after the four times World Champion missed out on an elusive first win of the Formula One season in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The German made a lightning start to pass the Mercedes pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg into the first corner in Montreal.

Ferrari believed a one-stop race would not be possible, so Vettel pitted early on a two-stop strategy -- a move that backfired when Hamilton’s tyres lasted longer than they had expected.

The Briton, a triple world champion, made only one stop and celebrated the 45th win of his Formula One career and fifth in Canada.

“I’m not a big fan of blaming anyone or anything,” said Vettel after finishing five seconds behind Hamilton at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. “I think it was a great weekend for Ferrari.

“We’ve had a difficult start to the season because we were never really able to show the true performance of the car and this was maybe the first clean weekend.”

Vettel revealed Ferrari had committed fairly early to a two-stop plan, adding: “It was probably the right thing to do in terms of getting to the chequered flag the quickest way.

“I was surprised how long the super-soft (tyre) lasted and then the soft lasted until the end -- we could have kept going on it.

“(Tyre) degradation wasn’t as high as expected, maybe that is where we lost the race.”

Second place lifted Vettel to third in the World Championship standings with 78 points. Rosberg has 116 with Hamilton on 107 after seven of 21 races.

Ferrari are on 147 points in the Constructors’ championship having benefitted from an improved turbocharger in Canada. Mercedes still lead with 223 points.

Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene responded to criticism of Ferrari’s two-stop strategy, saying that “we overestimated the degradation of the tyres and this is the reason why we called him (Seb) in. And it was the wrong decision.”

Asked what needs to change regarding Ferrari’s pit-wall decisions, the Italian added: “Come on, we don’t have to make the story bigger than what it is.

“Today we made a mistake but in other races everybody makes mistakes. The big one is when you lose for this thing.” (Editing by Alan Baldwin)