Red Bull Racing has revealed that its race-winning one-stop strategy in the Monaco Grand Prix came about by accident, because the team put the wrong tires on at his first pit stop of the race.
Vettel had been leading the early stages of the Monte Carlo event when he made a stop to react to nearest challenger Jenson Button's early change of rubber on lap 15. But although the team had planned to keep Vettel on super-soft rubber for his second stint, a communication problem within the Red Bull Racing garage saw him accidentally switch on to the soft.
In the end, it was Vettel's ability to keep those soft tires alive until the closing stages of the race, when it was red flagged following a crash, that proved key to his maiden Monaco victory.
Speaking about the issue, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said: "It was a communication problem where the radio got jammed.
"The plan was to box both the drivers on that lap, but unfortunately the radio got jammed so the guys in the garage did not get the call. They didn't know what tires they were supposed to be putting on the car.
"In the end, a set of primes went onto Seb's car and that wasn't the plan. We were going to stick a set of options on to cover Jenson but in the end, we said, 'OK, this isn't a disaster we need to engineer our way out of it.' And after a bit of number crunching we managed to get our way out of it."
Horner said that Red Bull Racing initially reckoned it would need to make another stop to have tires that were in good condition until the end of the race, but it was Vettel who had different ideas.
"We were on the hard tire and it was a question of looking at what the options were to get us back into contention. The best option was to go very, very long and even one stop, which on lap 20 we thought was a bit aggressive to do 60-odd laps on the prime.
"Jenson made our life slightly easier by going on options and options again, and then it was a question of what to do. It was a risky strategy but Sebastian made it work. He knew what the situation was and he drove accordingly to protect the tires."
He added: "For me it was a world champion's drive today. He soaked up the pressure, he focused on his efforts, and he was lucky with the accident that happened ahead of him to not get collected. When the race stopped he had a reprieve to get a new set of options until the end of the race, but I think even without that he would have won."