Sebastian Vettel says the key to a great result at the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan was the ability to choose tires to start the race as a result of a poor qualifying performance after failing to pass to the final part of qualifying for Aston Martin.
Vettel had enough speed on Saturday to pass in Q3, but in the second part of qualifying, he did not drive a good enough lap because by merging his best sectors he could drive as much as 0.453 seconds a faster lap, which is the biggest deviation from the ideal lap of all drivers.
That’s why the German was extremely angry when he heard that he missed Q3 in just 0.029 seconds, and because of Ricciardo's incident that caused the red flag he didn’t get another chance to fix his time. But just a bad qualifying performance allowed him to have the freedom to choose the tires to start the race so he could start the race on a new set of the soft which he used to make up for two positions at the start and stay longer on the track than his rivals.
"I'm out of myself and second place means a lot to us," Vettel said after the first podium for Aston Martin. "We didn't expect to be on the podium, but we made great progress over the weekend and the car had good speed in the race."
“The qualifications were challenging, but I was relaxed and confident ahead of the race. The key was to be able to start with a free choice of tires from the 11th position. " "That meant I could use a new set of soft tires to make up for two places at the start and then stay longer on the track to overtake the Yuki."
“It gave us a base for the second part of the race and put us in a position we could take advantage of. I felt good in the car, which combined with the strategy and events on the track made this special result possible.
Szaufner on Vettel's race
Aston Martin F1 team boss Otmar Szafnauer says Vettel drove extremely well on his way to the first podium for the Aston Martin F1 team. “Sebastian drove extremely well, made up for two places in the first lap, drove a long first leg on soft and skipped Tsunoda after boxing, after which he held seventh place,” Szafnauer said.
"When Lance was eliminated, Sebastian was sixth after which he drove a good restart after the safety car and overtook Charles for fifth place after which he overtook Pierre for fourth place." "When Max gave up it became third place, and when Lewis missed the first corner we were second, a great result for our team and the first podium for Aston Martin in Formula One history."