Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said his team had no option but to put Mark Webber on to a three-stop strategy, because a differential problem with the car meant his tyre wear increased dramatically.
Webber's hopes of challenging higher up were dashed when he was hit with the differential failure late in the race - and that problem resulted in more wheelspin which increased his tyre degradation.
That led to the team electing to give him a late stop for tyres - even though in theory the better strategy was to stick to a two-stopper.
"In the end, we had to stop," explained Horner. "With the differential issue and the tyres, you have a lot of wheelspin on the inside tyre and there is no way those tyres will get to the finish so we had to stop."
Horner said that early on it appeared as though Webber had done enough to get himself in to a good position for the closing stages of the race.
"We thought that starting on the prime would give us more options," he explained. "He made a good start and a good first couple of corners, and came around seventh.
"From there on, he was going very well on the primes and we thought we would save the options for later on. He then mirrors [Fernando] Alonso, but we knew at that stage that we didn't feel it was likely to get to the end on a set of softs.
"So to put him into fresh air, and really make that new set of tyres work, would be the best chance for him. Unfortunately on lap 45 we had a differential issue that was not behaving quite as well as we liked, and that cost him a bit of time."