Sebastian Vettel says he felt pretty great in F1 Belgian GP and could have fought with Alpine, but agrees that qualifying is a problem.
For long this season has seen Aston Martin qualify lowly, even getting knocked out in Q1, but have fought back well in the races to score a point. The F1 Belgian GP was on the similar train but the Lap 1 mess, allowed them to get into the Top 10 straight up.
In fact, Vettel and Lance Stroll had a moment on Lap 1 at the exit of Kemmel Straight where the Canadian lost couple of places, while the German stood ground against the Alpines. He had good pace all-through then to maintain track position.
The second stop cost him a place to Pierre Gasly where he lost out the chance to catch Esteban Ocon ahead. But it was points again in a competitive show where Vettel agreed that the team has a solid race pace, but misses out in qualifying.
“I think we had good pace on used tyres in particular; holding on to the old tyres was key,” said Vettel. “Obviously, the start, the Lap 1 was good but then I was able to fight with the Alpines; unfortunately I picked up Pierre just at the wrong time so that Esteban could easily benefit. I think I did a little mistake there, getting out of shape and I got eaten up by both so that was unfortunate.
“Eighth is a solid result. I was a little bit unlucky with the timing for the second stop. I came out just behind Pierre and lost a lap behind him, which allowed Esteban on new tyres to close down the advantage I had built up during the middle stint. Once again, we were more competitive in the race than in qualifying: we started strongly, and I managed to find a decent rhythm.
“I was able to put pressure on both Alpines, and I think seventh might have been possible, but they were a bit too fast for us today. But we will bank these points,” summed up Vettel, who insisted that Aston Martin has to work on their qualifying performance.
“The key will be qualifying, because once we are there, our race pace and our race craft generally I know is strong,” said Vettel. “It’s just got to be able to get there in the first place, which at the minute we will struggle [with] because we don’t have the qualifying pace. It is our Achilles’ heel. We will try and work on it and hopefully we have another good weekend next week.”
Here’s Lance Stroll on getting stuck behind Alexander Albon