Vettel enjoyed his best qualifying of the season as he progressed into Q3 for the first time since the British Grand Prix last year.

Despite running in tenth for much of the first stint, Vettel dropped back when he switched to the medium tyres, suffering from graining.

The German ultimately finished in 13th, having been overcut by Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo, while he was overtaken on-track by Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.

Vettel did let teammate Lance Stroll through, before being allowed back past on the final lap after the Canadian was unable to get past Giovinazzi for 12th.

“[It] was quite a busy and difficult race with a very long stint on the medium tyres,” Vettel said. “I think after 10 laps it was difficult to really keep close to the group ahead [featuring McLaren’s Lando Norris, the two Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly] and we just couldn’t stay with them and ultimately lost out. 

“It looks like overall, we just didn’t have enough pace today to score points.”

Vettel believes Aston Martin didn’t have the pace to score points, even if he did switch to the hards, rather than mediums for the second stint at Portimao.

“I think we understand the car better and better but we are lacking a bit of speed, so we need to work on that,” Vettel added. “I don’t think we could have done anything different with the strategy, but overall, we did not have enough pace or consistency to hold onto the group fighting for points.

“On the positive side, I will have some new parts on my car next week, which we feel are a step in the right direction. But the real priority is to have a clean Saturday, which is the key to a better Sunday.”

 

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