Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari’s power unit upgrade played a big part in his victory in the Belgian Grand Prix, and hearing others praise its progress this season is a major compliment.
Ferrari has made clear steps forward over the past two years with its power unit and now appears to have the strongest engine on the grid, with the team enjoying an advantage over Mercedes in the first and third sectors — featuring long flat-out sections — at Spa-Francorchamps.
After overtaking Lewis Hamilton at the start of the race and then holding him off after a Safety Car restart, Vettel says an upgraded power unit introduced this weekend had a major role in his win.
“Yesterday was a bit of a funny ending to qualifying with the conditions but nevertheless I think we got ourselves in a position to fight for today and that’s what we did,” Vettel said. “So I’m very happy with how the start went, Turn 1 — which is crucial to set everything up — and then I think the timing was right.
“We had a new engine in this weekend which gave us a little bit more power and I’d like to think a little bit of a help and boost down the straights. When it all comes together obviously it’s good to see that it works.
“We had the pace, it was very close in the first stint with only a couple of seconds between us but a great pit stop so there was no chance. It felt quick, I was like ‘Green already?! OK, go!’ And then I checked whether somebody was waving because it felt so quick.
“A second slower in the pit stop or a second and a half with a small mistake, 3.5s you can easily do that as stop time and then you come out just with Max [Verstappen] and Lewis and you might get eaten up down the straight. So that was very crucial and then the second stint we could control it a little bit more.”
With Hamilton referencing “a few trick things” on the Ferrari — which he later clarified he did not feel are illegal — Vettel says he’s proud the Scuderia’s progress in the power unit department is getting noticed.
“I think we’ve done everything right for this weekend but I think it’s a huge compliment if people praise our engine because the last five years people didn’t praise anything other than Mercedes engines.
“So it’s good to have that change and I think it makes Maranello and all the Ferraristi and our engine department very happy. Everybody involved can be very proud. I think the key is not only that, the key is teamwork, the car is also working in all sorts of tracks, is efficient and I think that’s the key to bringing everything together. We take it.”