It was the latest in a string of high-profile errors from Vettel this season, who also spun on the opening lap in Italy after hitting title rival Lewis Hamilton, crashed out of the lead in Germany and clattered into Valtteri Bottas at the start of the French Grand Prix.
"I didn't really have any problems but collectively as a team we didn't perform that great which is not something we usually do". It took the Finn 113 races, but he's finally managed it.
But Hamilton was losing time and pitted in the 38th lap with his tires blistering, coming out in fourth place, though quickly set the fastest lap as he looked to chase Raikkonen down again.
Vettel added: "I am getting exhausted of recovery drives". Wish there had been a few more laps in the end! "People don't understand I'm actually very happy with where I'm going". "They were quicker today and ultimately just did a better job".
"Once we've done the stop on 11, I knew I would be doing a two-stop", said Hamilton, adding. "I'm happy for the team and for Kimi, because he deserves to win more than anyone on the grid, but I am not happy for myself".
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"It's been a great weekend, the auto has been good all weekend". The only thing I was interested in was to know what would happen.
However, Hamilton had to settle for third on Sunday as Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen both finished ahead of him. "In the championship, the numbers are against us, but we will knuckle down and fight all the way to the end, just as we did today".
Despite Hamilton's failure to win, he extended his lead over the faltering Vettel to 70 points with just 75 remaining.
Räikkönen's first Ferrari victory for nine years and Sebastian Vettel's fourth place at the Circuit of the Americas meant Lewis Hamilton's third place wasn't enough for the Brit to claim a fifth world title.
Though Vettel and Ferrari made a good start to the season by winning the first two races, they have not been able to match the consistency of Hamilton and Mercedes, who went on a four-race winning streak between Italy and Japan in recent months.
"The way these cars are designed, although they're great on their own we should be able to follow closer than we are and be in a train and be dicing with each other but you don't see that in this series", he told Sky Sports F1.