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Sebastian Vettel has confessed that Ferrari “did everything we could”, after the German missed out on victory to Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish Grand Prix.

While Vettel initially saw himself in the lead and maintained it for the first third of the race, a switch of tyres by Hamilton completely changed the complexion of the event.

Valtteri Bottas also did extremely well to cut Vettel’s lead at the top, before Hamilton motored ahead and stayed in that position till the end of the 66 laps.

All of this happened after the second pit stop, where Vettel emerged narrowly in front of Hamilton, with the pair making minor contact, forcing the Briton to take to the run-off.

Hamilton remained latched onto the rear of Vettel’s Ferrari and swept by a handful of laps later, cruising clear to victory, with Vettel taking second.

“I had a very good start, I think Lewis and myself both picked up wheel spin straightaway,” said Vettel.

“Then I picked up the clutch again and then I could gain on him, I was really happy with that, the run to Turn 1 was quite long but I managed to stay ahead.

“I settled into a nice rhythm, it was fine, obviously Lewis stayed out longer and did the opposite, mirrored the strategy, knew at the end it would be crucial.

“Then he came out of the pit lane and I was a bit surprised when he came out, it was so close.

“I tried to brake as late as possible in Turn 1 and locked up, and I don’t know if we touched, I managed to stay ahead, so it was really close.

“Then I was doing all I could to stay in front, I was a bit lucky as there was a car in front giving me a tow for several laps, then I was alone and Hamilton flew past.

“It was a shame, we tried to stay in the race, well done to him, we did everything we could.”

Vettel and Ferrari referred to ‘plan C’ during the closing stages of the race, amid doubts over Hamilton’s tyre preservation, but realised making a further stop would be fruitless.

“We had a huge gap to Daniel Ricciardo behind so we could have done anything really,” he said.

“We weren’t sure, there was a big conversation, trying to do something, we were hoping Lewis would maybe struggle with tyres at the end.

“Normally at the end of the race the track picks up the rubber and the tyres last very long so he didn’t have any problems, we tried to keep pushing and stay close but we never close enough.”

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