Sebastian Vettel was given a peculiar request by Aston Martin race engineer Tim Wright during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend.
During free practice in Baku, the four-time champion was asked to remove one of his hands from the steering wheel, possibly in an attempt from the team to see how the car was behaving in a straight line.
The British side’s cars have been fairly shaky on the straights this year owing to the ground effect aerodynamics under the new technical regulations, although they are hoping to smooth out their ride slightly with the upgraded package they introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix.
To test that out, Vettel was asked to find a spot on the track where he could essentially let go of the wheel.
“Any way you think you can do safely a bit of video for the hands?” asked Wright.
“What’s that sorry? Release the steering?” replied a slightly bemused Vettel.
“Yeah, just watching the video, yeah,” said the engineer.
“Are you insane?” joked the German, before saying “I don’t want to let go of the steering… okay I can let go a little bit.”
Vettel went on to finish the race sixth, but it might have been more had it not been for an aborted overtake on Esteban Ocon that saw him take to the escape road.
Nonetheless, the haul of eight points was his and Aston Martin’s best result of the season, so he will certainly take that.
“I think overall sixth is really good, we’re really happy with the result,” he explained.
“We had an amazing pit stop where we beat Mercedes with Lewis.
“After that, I think I was already past Esteban but then a bit late because I was sure he was going to battle for it and I wasn’t quite sure so I took the emergency lane and lost a lot of time.
“Without that time, I think we could have had a battle for P5 on our hands, but nevertheless I think it’s a really good result.”
Aston Martin remain ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, but are now level on 15 points with eighth-placed Haas.