Red Bull team principal Christian Horner smiled as he praised Sebastian Vettel’s performance at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, joking that Aston Martin have a “good car.”
Vettel started the race in Baku in P9, but climbed above Yuki Tsunoda off the start, before jumping Sir Lewis Hamilton in the pit stop phases.
As he was passing Esteban Ocon, however, the four-time champion out-braked himself into Turn Three and sailed off the track, giving the positions back to Hamilton and Tsunoda.
He made an excellent recovery to sixth though after getting back ahead of the Japanese, and he encountered Horner after the race as the Briton was conducting an interview.
Red Bull completed their third one-two of the season as Max Verstappen led home Sergio Perez, so Vettel, having won all four of his titles with the Milton Keynes side, congratulated his former boss.
“He’s doing a great job, he’s got a good car and it’s good to see him up there. It’s good to see the old boy’s still got it,” he told Sky Sports, smiling as he made the “good car” comment.
The reason for this irony is that Red Bull have accused Aston Martin of stealing data from the four-time champions to inform the design of their sidepods they introduced in Spain.
The FIA found no wrongdoing having gone through the work the British side have done to design the new chassis, and they confirmed a paper trail that dates back to last year, so it would seem that no copying took place.
Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko, claimed to have “proof data was downloaded,” although the Austrian could not say for sure what was done with it.
Asides from that dispute, Horner is pleased to see his former driver doing well at Aston Martin, especially after their tough start to the season.
“That’s down to the FIA, but I’m pleased for Seb he did a good job today,” added the 48-year-old.
Vettel was asked after the race if he could have battled Hamilton for fourth had he not made his mistake, but he believes he might have had a better chance of attacking fifth-placed Pierre Gasly.
“I don’t know, I think Lewis in fairness, with race pace, they were faster,” explained the 34-year-old.
“So, in the beginning he was sort of stuck, we managed to pip them in the pit stop which was really good for us.
“Maybe if I had jumped Esteban the first go, because then I would have been able to pull the gap because Lewis had worst straight-line speed than us and the Alpine was faster.
“He took so long to get by, so maybe but I think more fifth, the fight with Pierre probably is more realistic but I think it’s still a decent amount of points so really happy.”
Aston Martin’s eight points in Baku does not lift them above ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, but it does put them level on 15 points with eighth-placed Haas.