Ferrari seized upon an early Virtual Safety Car period to pit Vettel - who had seized the race lead at the start - on lap 11, ensuring the German would need to stop again. Hamilton, in contrast, was able to make his first set of tyres last until lap 24, allowing him to jump back in front of Vettel and stay ahead for the remainder of the Grand Prix.
"We overestimated the degradation of the tyres," Arrivabene explained. That's why we called him [Vettel] in.
"It was a wrong decision. We don't have to make the story bigger than it is. Today we made a mistake, but everybody makes mistakes."
Despite the setback, Vettel said he was happy with how the race turned out, and with how quick the SF16-H and its latest engine upgrades proved after struggling to match Mercedes in recent rounds.
"Lewis was a bit too quick, that was the issue," he said on the podium. "I think we had a great weekend.
"I was pushing all race. We committed fairly early to a different strategy, which we were planning to come back [to the lead]. Obviously then Lewis was able to stay out and see what the tyres are doing, and probably the tyres lasted a bit better than what we expected.
"That made it quite tricky on fresher tyres to close the gap, but overall it was a great weekend for us."
Vettel also backed Ferrari's call to try for two stops, adding: "I am not a big fan of blaming anyone and anything. The degradation wasn't as high as we expected."
The four-time world champion now lies third in the driver standings on 78 points, 38 behind leader Nico Rosberg.