Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said the car's performance through the final sector in Catalunya was to blame for Kimi Raikkonen's failure to beat Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
Verstappen became the youngest race winner in Formula One history after holding off Raikkonen to take the chequered flag at Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.
The 18-year-old was making his Red Bull debut after replacing Daniil Kvyat, who was demoted to sister team Toro Rosso following several under par performances.
Raikkonen trailed Verstappen for the final 22 laps of the race but, despite being assisted by DRS down the main and back straights, could not get close enough to pass the Dutchman and had to settle for second on the podium.
Arrivabene believes his failure to pass Verstappen was down to Ferrari's poor performance through the final complex at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
"If we had reversed the strategy most probably [Ferrari team-mate] Sebastian [Vettel] would have been in the same position as Kimi," he explained.
"The problem was not the strategy, the problem was - as happened in qualifying - we were not good enough in the last part of the track, in the slow corner.
"It was in the last part of the track the Red Bull was going big time, and Kimi was unable to catch him again until the end of the straight.
"So it wasn't a question of strategy. The question is, like in qualifying, why were we very, very slow in the last part of the track?"
He added: "Kimi had a fantastic race in my opinion.
"It's a pity we weren't good enough in certain parts of the track to give him the possibility of winning the race."