'We've proven that we are back', that was Sebastian Vettel's assessment after taking the final spot on the podium in the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps.

Vettel enjoyed a strong race and having started from eighth on the grid was more than happy to bring his Red Bull-Renault RB5 home in third place, behind race winner, Kimi Raikkonen and Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella.

Indeed given the engine problems he has had of late and in particular his nightmare outing last weekend in Valencia, today's result was a big boost as it allowed him to close up on championship leader, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.

Furthermore with his team-mate Mark Webber also failing to score - just like Button - Vettel strengthened his own bid for the 2009 F1 drivers' title, and now moves up to third in the standings, 19 points behind Button with five more races to go and a possible 50 points up for grabs.

"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," Vettel reflected. "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."

Meanwhile Red Bull Racing team principal, Christian Horner was very impressive with Vettel's performance during the 44-lap event and in the end the German finished just 3.8 seconds off the top two.

"A very strong race by Sebastian today," Horner added. "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.

"We've slightly reduced the gap in the Constructors' Championship now and we've reduced the gap in the Drivers' Championship, so overall a reasonable weekend for us."


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