Sebastian Vettel hopes his strong performance in the Monaco Grand Prix was a sign of his Aston Martin team becoming more of a threat this season.
Last year the team was extremely competitive while competing under the name of Racing Point, and had high hopes of a strong 2021 as it rebranded as Aston Martin. However, the team had just five points to its name before Vettel’s fifth place in Monaco coupled with an eighth for Lance Stroll moved it up to fifth in the constructors’ championship and gave the four-time world champion his first points of the season.
“I always had quite good results (in Monaco) so coming in I knew it could be making a difference, this track, but I’m happy for the team,” Vettel said. “After such a strong season last year and then a disappointing start in many ways this year, I think it’s what we needed and the guys deserve.
“Also, it’s a good signal to all the factory at home — there’s a lot of things happening but hopefully this result helps us to keep the spirit high and maybe pick up a bit of momentum to have stronger races.
“It’s very tight in the midfield and if we can find that extra tenth or two, no matter where, it can make a huge difference. It might be enough to get you into Q3; it might be enough in the race to stay out that one lap or go for the undercut and make it work, and so on.
“In the end, if you look at the weekend it’s probably only five minutes that really matter — the qualifying laps and crucial laps in the race — but you need to have everything working your way when you get that, in such a tight field as it is where we are in the midfield.”
Key to Vettel’s result was a breathtaking wheel-to-wheel moment with Pierre Gasly when exiting the pits, and he admits it was a close call as to who would get ahead.
Vettel ⚔️ Gasly
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 23, 2021
“I knew it would be close but that close is always difficult to foresee. I always had a bit of the nose ahead and I could see him but not enough really to tell how much I was ahead, because it was nearly side-by-side — it was only a quarter of a car to half a car.
“And then it starts to go left-right and I guess he didn’t know if I saw him so at some point he backed out of it. I gave him room but I had fresh tires, I went through the pick-up as well, so not the most comfortable route up to the Casino.”
That battle came after Vettel had run longer than both Gasly and Lewis Hamilton in order to jump both cars, and says one of the most positive signs was how comfortable he felt with the car.
“I enjoyed it because that’s the time when it matters. The first 10 laps were quite boring — Sergio (Perez) pushed in the beginning but no threat really, and then he backed off to save his tires and I knew that those laps before the pits would be the crucial ones — and they turned out to be. I just enjoyed the fact that I was on top of the car and could push when I had to and knew how the car would respond.”