Team orders were not an option, says Ferrari's Vettel

Vettel denies Hamilton in final Austrian GP practice

Vettel denies Hamilton in final Austrian GP practice

Wolff also praised Hamilton for his positive attitude in the post-race debrief, in which Mercedes staff members back in the United Kingdom also participated.

Vettel leads the title race with 146 points ahead of Hamilton on 145, Raikkonen on 101 and Ricciardo on 96.

Immediately, both Ferrari and Red Bull responded with double pit-stops for their drivers while Mercedes left Hamilton out - a tactical oversight that was to prove costly.

"We are able to say we made a mistake in order to close the matter, and give Lewis the piece of mind and make him park the thought", he added.

Hamilton had to pit again on lap 53 and came out fifth behind Ricciardo but took that place back within a lap when the Red Bull's engine failed to ensure no happy returns on Ricciardo's 29th birthday.

Cheered by tens of thousands of orange-clad Dutch fans, Verstappen held on to claim his first win of the season, and fourth overall.

"Just throwing away a win". I know everyone in the team will be feeling pain but we've got to take out the positives this weekend.

Vettel retook the championship lead from Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton by one point with third place behind Raikkonen on a day when both Mercedes retired.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands takes a curve followed by Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, right, and Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring racetrack in Spielberg, southern Austria, Sunday July 1, 2018.

"I am not going to lie, all areas we are going to have to work on", Hamilton said. "After that, the auto came good, but we just ran out of laps".

"What I think happened was we were running one and two and controlling the race, and suddenly you see your second vehicle stopping". Fact. This is where we lost the race. "I'm sure the guys will be working to rectify things".

History repeated itself for Hamilton as another strategy mistake cost him a potential victory at the season-opening Australian GP in March.

Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles was forced to get on the radio and apologise to the four-time world champion.

"I've said it before, Sebastian's biggest strength is his ambition, but sometimes like in Le Castellet it went against him".

When asked why Vowles felt compelled to take full responsibility, Wolff said: "For Lewis he was leading the race comfortably, and then coming out in P4, it was a moment where he was really suffering".

The pit blunder turned out to be academic, with Hamilton retiring from the race nine laps before the finish with a loss of fuel pressure. "I told Max he had a very good race", said Vettel.

France's Romain Grosjean scored his first points of the season with a bang, finishing a lapped fourth for the USA -owned Haas team, who also had Denmark's Kevin Magnussen taking the chequered flag in fifth.

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