Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel was 'relieved' and 'very happy' to win the Belgian Grand Prix today following the issues the team had with the softer of the two Pirelli tyre compounds.
Vettel, who started from pole position, made the first of his three stops very early, coming in on lap 6, and he conceded that pre-race the priority was just to make sure they got to the chequered flag.
However, as the afternoon went on so the team got to 'grips' with the problem and the German promptly took his seventh victory of the season, 3.7 seconds up on his team-mate, Mark Webber.
The result further extends his lead in the drivers' championship and he now enjoys a 92 point cushion, with seven races to go and a maximum 175 points left up for grabs.
“I'm very happy; today was a very good race for us, although it was not easy with the tyres. The beginning of the race was more research and science than racing and we sacrificed a lot by stopping very early,” Vettel said.
“We had a good feeling though and I came in again when the safety car came out [on lap 13], just to see how they were.
“I can judge a bit from looking at the inside, but when you're doing 300kph or more and the tyres are always spinning rather than stopped, you can't really take the time to see, so it was crucial to come in and have a closer look.
“I'm very happy with the result. It's a big relief after all the discussions we had going into the race.
“This morning disturbed our normal rhythm, as normally you know what you do when you arrive on Sunday morning, but today we had a lot of discussions which doesn't make it easy to keep focused.
“Before the race, we decided the priority was simply to finish the race today and not think too much about where, so that's why I am so happy with the result.
“It couldn't have been any better. The car felt fantastic and with each lap we learned more and more about the tyres, which made us more confident to push when necessary,” he concluded.