Sebastian Vettel had an excellent Belgian Grand Prix, after adding four points to the Aston Martin F1 Team’s constructors’ tally after finishing eighth at Spa-Francorchamps.
Despite qualifying P16, Vettel started the race from P10 following a plethora of grid penalties for other drivers.
The four-time World Champion made the most of the elevated starting position and found himself in fifth place early on in the race.
Vettel demonstrated strong pace, capable of battling with both the Alpine F1 Team and Scuderia AlphaTauri.
The 35-year-old overtook Pierre Gasly late on for P8, building on his P10 finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix before the summer break.
Vettel highlighted the importance of having “good pace” on worn tyres, something which benefitted the German driver during the race.
“I think we had good pace on used tyres in particular,” he told F1.com.
“Holding on to the old tyres was key. Obviously the start…lap one was good and then I was able to fight with the Alpines.
“Unfortunately, I picked up Pierre [Gasly] just at the wrong time so Esteban [Ocon] could easily benefit. I think I did a little mistake there, getting out of shape, and then got eaten up by both so that was unfortunate.”
With Lance Stroll finishing P11, it was one of Aston Martin’s stronger weekends of the season.
The AMR22 clearly has potential based on its race pace; however, Vettel has identified qualifying as the car’s “Achilles heel” as something that needs to be worked on.
“We’ll see,” he replied when asked what this result means moving forward.
“The key will be qualifying because [when] we are there (higher up the grid) like today, I think our race pace and race craft generally I know is strong.
“So it’s just to be able to get there in the first place, which at the minute we struggle [with] because we don’t have the qualifying pace. So it’s our Achilles heel. We tried to work on it and hopefully we will have another good weekend next week.”
With Vettel retiring at the end of the season, it meant the Belgian GP was his last.
The German has some great memories of the circuit, with fans remembering all too well the famous line of “but here comes Sebastian Vettel”, which was shouted by Sky F1 commentator David Croft on the opening lap of the 2018 race whilst the German overtook Sir Lewis Hamilton.
Vettel revealed that he wasn’t thinking about it being his last time at the track whilst he was completing his final lap but admitted he “did enjoy” his last race at the historic circuit.
“I understand it [will be his last time going around the track] because people remind me the whole time,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“But yeah, I enjoy it. I didn’t go into Eau Rouge the last lap and think ‘this is the last lap of Eau Rouge’.
“I don’t know, I always think the best thing is always to come, no matter what it is. Obviously it will be outside Eau Rouge, but I did enjoy it today and that’s the main thing.
“If I can do that the next races as well I would say mission accomplished and then off to what’s next.”