Sebastian Vettel describes Aston Martin qualifying pace as the team’s ‘Achilles heel’

Sam Cooper
Sebastian Vettel focused sitting in the AMR22. Hungary July 2022

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel focused sitting in the AMR22. Hungary July 2022

Despite finishing P8, Sebastian Vettel was made to wonder what more he could have achieved at Spa if Aston Martin could qualify stronger.

Having secured a P10 finish at the final race before the summer break in Hungary, Vettel made it back-to-back points scores with another strong showing in Belgium.

He started the race from P10 and was able to gain two places throughout the race, but could have had more had he not been one of the unlucky victims of an excellent Esteban Ocon double overtake.

Vettel highlighted Aston Martin’s tyre management as key to their success but admitted it was “a little mistake” that cost him to lose out to Ocon.

“I think we had good pace on used tyres in particular,” he told “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.”

Vettel also said the team needed to improve in qualifying, which was proving to be their “Achilles heel”. The German qualified P16 before numerous grid penalties improved his position.

“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.”

It was the last time Vettel will race around the Spa circuit as an F1 driver but he insisted that had not been in his thoughts during the final lap.

“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.”