Former Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug thinks Sebastian Vettel “set his mind” at Portimao and sees another step coming in Spain.
The four-time former World Champion has not had the easiest of starts to life at Aston Martin, but finally we saw a flash of the real Vettel at the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The German racer reached Q3, ending a 15-race streak since his last appearance, and although Vettel sunk back down the order on race day Aston Martin have since confirmed it was due to Vettel not using their upgraded aero package.
Haug is not sure how big Vettel’s next step forward will be, but definitely expects further progress at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, scene of the Spanish Grand Prix.
“I think the potential is there. Sebastian has set his mind, Aston Martin has made a change. I think there’s a step forward,” he told Sky Germany.
“I think there will be a step in Barcelona, the question is how big it is compared to the others.”
Another driver who took his performances to the next level in Portimao was Vettel’s fellow German, Mick Schumacher.
For the first time in Formula 1, Schumacher was able to drag the Haas VF-21 into combat with another team, overtaking the Williams of Nicholas Latifi to finish P17.
And although Haug does not see it as such a bad thing for Schumacher to find himself in the slowest car, he does expect the rookie to keep improving step by step.
“I don’t think it’s very bad to have the slowest car in the field. It is not a great pleasure but it may even be the right way to learn,” Haug stated.
“He’s done very little wrong. I think Mick will move forward step by step. The distance to his team-mate is already getting bigger.”
Up at the front of the pack it was Valtteri Bottas who joined Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton for a three-way battle at the Portuguese GP.
Ultimately, it is expected to come down to Verstappen and Hamilton for the title, and Haug definitely believes the pair are “on a par”.
“I definitely think Max Verstappen is on a par. For his age, he’s damn far ahead and makes very few mistakes,” he stated.