Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari's Spanish Grand Prix strategy was the right one, saying Lewis Hamilton was just too fast to keep behind.
Ferrari decided to cover Hamilton when he pitted for the first time, and Vettel managed to stay in front thanks to that and a slow stop for the Mercedes man.
However, Hamilton then switched to a three-stop strategy to pass Vettel, who stayed on track and only stopped twice but drove at a much slower pace.
In the end, Hamilton emerged ahead from the final pitstop and finished nearly 30 seconds in front of Vettel, who admitted the Mercedes driver was just too quick.
"Obviously we were hoping to stay second and make Lewis' hard a bit harder also in the second part of the race, I think he was fairly frustrated. We didn't mind, obviously," said Vettel.
"The first stop was very aggressive when they decided to pull in, and they had a problem which was a nice invitation that we accepted, and we took the chance to stay in front, and it worked well.
"The second time he pulled in it was clear that they were on three stops, which we believed was not the best to maintain second. Unfortunately I think he was very quick once he was in free air.
"In the end Lewis came out in front of us. We were gambling that he would come behind and we could do the same kind of game again, but that didn't work.
"Once he was in front it was clear he was out of reach."
Ferrari "further away" from Merc
The four-time champion conceded the weekend had been difficult for Ferrari, especially as Mercedes is further ahead and Williams has caught up.
"Everybody came here hoping to be closer to Mercedes," he said. "Unfortunately that didn't work. But I think we made a step forward, even though it doesn't look like it. I think for us it was just a difficult weekend.
"Williams closed in a little bit more, Mercedes getting a bit further away. All in all, we have to be happy with third. Let's not forget where we are coming from."