Sebastian Vettel: “Saturday performance needs to be a focus for the second half of the year”

Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team’s Sebastian Vettel earned a point at the Hungarian Grand Prix, going from eighteenth up to tenth after a solid race and the potential for a greater return. 

Vettel said that ninth place was in his sights near the end of the race after switching places with team-mate Lance Stroll, but ultimately wasn’t able to catch Esteban Ocon for the position with the Virtual Safety Car hindering his prospects. He ended up just over a tenth behind Ocon, narrowly missing an additional point.  

“We had to fight hard for a point today and we came close to a second point when I was chasing down Esteban [Ocon] in the final laps. 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.”

Vettel enjoyed the race overall, having had good pace at the Hungaroring. He did, however, struggle with his second set of tyres, which were used mediums. 

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Vettel said that improving the team’s qualifying needs to be a priority after summer break.

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

“I think I drove a strong race today” – Lance Stroll

Stroll finished just outside the points in eleventh place after starting fourteenth. Though he was pleased with his drive in Hungary, he said that his tyre options hindered his performance when compared to Vettel, who would overtake him during the race. 

“I think I drove a strong race today. Into the final stint, Sebastian was on the Medium and I was on the Soft – I did not 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.”

Stroll reflected on the incident with Daniel Ricciardo, in which Ricciardo made contact with him on the inside of turn two, a result of the McLaren driver’s trouble finding grip with the difficult hard compound tyres. 

“I had fun racing into the top 10. When I came up to pass Daniel [Ricciardo], I gave him room on the inside at Turn Two, but I think he was struggling for grip on the Hard tyre and went a bit too deep. That is how it goes sometimes.” 

Stroll also noted qualifying performance as an important element to review and improve for the remainder of the season, but maintained that it was generally a “positive” day for the team.

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.”

Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team