Vettel explains Aston Martin switcheroo in Hungary

Jamie Woodhouse
Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, side-by-side. Hungary, July 2022.

Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, side-by-side at the Hungaroring. Hungary, July 2022.

Sebastian Vettel said Aston Martin moved him ahead of team-mate Lance Stroll to give him a shot at passing Esteban Ocon.

Just like at the round prior in France, Aston Martin found themselves with one driver inside the points at the Hungarian GP and the other running just outside of the top 10.

With a few laps to go, Stroll conceded P10 and the final points-paying position to Vettel, and at the time it was not clear why Aston Martin had made that call.

Vettel explained then that he was judged to have had the best opportunity to take P9 from Ocon, and with another corner would have done so.

Ultimately though he ran out of track and finished P10, scoring a point for himself and Aston Martin.

“We had to fight hard for a point today and we came close to a second point when I was chasing down Esteban in the final laps,” said Vettel as per an Aston Martin statement.

“The team switched cars because I had a better opportunity to catch Esteban, but obviously the Virtual Safety Car hurt us and we ran out of time. I was very close on the final lap, but I needed just one more corner to make a move.

“It was a fun race with lots of fights and overtakes. The middle stint was a bit difficult, but the balance was better for the third stint on the mediums.”

With Vettel having started P18 and Stroll P14, it represented another strong Sunday for Aston Martin to follow an underwhelming qualifying display.

So, as Formula 1 heads into its summer break, Vettel says it is the qualifying performances which Aston Martin still need to work on.

“The race pace was competitive, once again, so improving our Saturday performance needs to be a focus for the second half of the year,” Vettel concluded.

Stroll’s afternoon was certainly not helped by contact with Daniel Ricciardo, the McLaren driver sending Stroll into a spin at Turn 2.

Ricciardo picked up a five-second penalty having been deemed responsible.

Stroll accepts that Ricciardo simply lacked grip on the hard tyre, Ricciardo having likened it to driving “on ice”, while Stroll explained that the soft tyre turned out to be the wrong one to run in the final stint.

“I think I drove a strong race today,” he said. “Into the final stint, Sebastian was on the medium and I was on the soft – I didn’t have another medium left, and he could make that tyre last a little bit longer.

“The soft was the wrong tyre in the circumstances, sadly, but these things happen in racing. I had fun racing into the top 10. When I came up to pass Daniel, I gave him room on the inside at Turn 2, but I think he was struggling for grip on the hard tyre and went a bit too deep. That’s how it goes sometimes.

“We seem to have better pace on Sundays than we do on Saturdays, so we need to look at that. But there are plenty of positives to take away from today.”