Hamilton reduces Vettel's title lead with China Win
McLaren's Hamilton passed the previously-dominant RB7 in the closing stages in Shanghai, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner revealing Vettel had KERS problems.
"At the end, Lewis was so much quicker it wasn't worth fighting so hard," he told the BBC.
German Vettel also struggled with a two-stop strategy compared to Hamilton's three, while Mark Webber in the sister Red Bull was smiling after a sensational run from 18th on the grid to finish third.
"Maybe the best thing to do is not even take part in qualifying and go from there," the Australian joked.
Hamilton's victory came less than two hours after his MP4-26 initially refused to start in the McLaren garage, and he came within seconds of having to start the race from the pitlane.
"It was not the greatest way to start out the afternoon but once it did start it went well," said boss Martin Whitmarsh.
Jenson Button, ultimately fourth at the flag, featured early but lost ground, also when he accidentally drove into the Red Bull pit area for a new set of tires.
"I was looking down and when I looked back up I could see I was in the wrong place," he said.
"It was one of those races where there was a lot of overtaking and action, but I wasn't quick enough.
"Hamilton's victory ended a four-race winning streak for Vettel.
"I think we tried too hard staying on two stops," said the German. "We did a couple of mistakes but still finished second so I'm very happy with that."
"I think the start was not the best we had this year," he said. "For some reason it seems the left hand side is worse than the right hand side here, plus the fact that you turn right doesn't really help. It wasn't a 100% good start so I also lost a position to Lewis who started behind me. Then it was about being patient, I think we treated the tires better in the first stint and could have stayed out but there's no point in doing that because you try obviously to pit earlier.
"And then I think we probably tried too hard staying on two stops, so the middle stint ideally should have been a bit longer but surely in the end you'll find yourself out there on the hard tire. I saw Lewis coming closer and closer and there was no point really [in fighting too hard], I tried to defend as much as I can without losing too much time to the guys behind, but he found his way past easily."
It was the first race that Vettel has not won this season, and he gave McLaren some praise for Hamilton's victory, but said they had profited from the Red Bull mistakes. It was a difficult race for us, as I said we did a couple of mistakes on top of that we had some problems but still we finished second so I'm very very happy with that. So first of all congratulations to Lewis and to McLaren, they did a very good job and it shows that one second or one race where you just try something a bit different and you do mistakes - it's natural - and there's someone else to beat you."
Nico Rosberg believes he could have taken a podium at the Chinese Grand Prix had he not been forced to save fuel towards the end of the race.
An early tire change put Rosberg in the lead of the race after the first round of pit stops and he led eventual winner Lewis Hamilton up until lap 42. A couple of laps earlier Mercedes had radioed him to save fuel due to excessive consumption, a factor Rosberg believes was the difference between his fifth place finish and a podium.
"Naturally I'm disappointed with the race today as we know that we didn't make the most of our opportunity out there," he said. "We've made a big step with the car this weekend which is really nice to see and we will have better races in future. Leading the race for such a long time was a great feeling but we had issues with the fuel consumption which made it really difficult to fight for position. We could have had a podium finish or maybe more today, but we will learn from this together as a team and make sure that we get the results next time."
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