Sebastian Vettel was delighted with his podium finish in today’s Belgium Grand Prix – and has claimed that he is back in the title hunt.
Vettel overcame a lack of running to finish in third place, setting the fastest lap in the process. Later the young German thanked his team for putting their reliability issues behind them and continuing to keep his title hopes alive.
However the race did not go well for Mark Webber. The Australian was penalised after being dangerously released infront of Nick Heidfeld in the pitlane. He eventually finished in ninth place and expressed his disappointment.
Sebastian Vettel – 3rd: “If you look at the Championship board, today was a good result. Obviously it was not easy to start from the middle of the pack, but the actual start was good. I was maybe too conservative in the middle of the first lap when I saw Nick (Heidfeld) go off the track – very often cars tend to come back on to the circuit spinning; I lost a position to Nico (Rosberg) and had to catch him back up after the restart. I lost too much ground to the leading cars in the first stint, but in the second and third stints the car was fantastic, I didn’t make any mistakes and was pushing like it was qualifying on every lap. It was a pleasure to drive the car and we were quicker than the guys in front. We took points out of the Brawn team today, so that’s good for the team and it’s good to score more points than Jenson (Button) and Rubens (Barichello) for the Drivers’ Championship. A big thank you to the team and compliments to Renault after everything we’ve gone through in the last couple of races, it’s good to finish a race again. We’ve proven that we are back.”
Mark Webber – 9th: “I had a good first lap and laid the right foundations to get some good points today. But, at my first pit stop, I was released in front of Nick (Heidfeld), which I was given a drive through penalty for. After that it was a case of damage limitation. I tried to get back into the points and when we had free air, which was not often, we had good pace, but it wasn’t enough. It’s very frustrating not to take any points away, I thought I deserved them from that drive, but the drive-through wrecked that. No one’s interested in excuses though; that’s how it is, so let’s get on and look ahead to the next race.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal: “A very strong race by Sebastian today. As soon as he got into clear air, he used the advantage that he had in the middle sector and really closed the gap to the leaders during the second and third stints. Third was a good result for him. Mark had a good start and a good first lap and was unlucky with his drive-through penalty it was obviously marginal and he was unlucky to miss out on the final point. Overall we’ve slightly reduced the gap in the Constructors’ Championship and we’ve reduced the gap in the Drivers’ Championship, so a reasonable weekend. Congratulations to Ferrari and also to Force India on a great drive by Fisichella.”
Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer Track Support: “A difficult race. We started quite far down the grid, but both drivers had good starts. Sebastian made up some places and was very quick in the second-half of the race, getting the fastest lap time. He ended third, which was good, even if it was lower than we expected coming here. For Mark, his race was over with the drive-through penalty, which was unfortunate. We are happy to have made it through this race which is hard on the engines, but we still have five more races to go, so we can’t be happy until the last one is complete. Monza will be tough again.”