Aston Martin on the rise: Vettel saves wings

Azerbaijan GP 2022

As in Monte Carlo, Sebastian Vettel certainly qualified for the top ten. Hans Aston Martin took another step forward. But the show could have ended in Q2. Had Vettel not saved the front wing with a deliberate accident.

Sebastian Vettel can laugh again. Hans Aston Martin learns to walk step by step. As in Monte Carlo, the four-time champion certainly qualified for Q3. It shows the placements in the first two knockout rounds. Sixth in Q1, seventh in Q2. 9th place in the top ten final. “It was not easy anyway,” Vettel corrected. “I was on attack from the first lap. You can not build up speed slowly in Baku. You have to be fast right away because so many things can appear. A yellow flag here, a red flag there. You are out faster than you can believe . “

Vettel twice came close to the imponderables that the Baku City Circuit has to offer each year. He came just over the line in Q1 before a red flag interrupted the pass with 2.30 minutes left. Teammate Lance Stroll had shot his Aston Martin into the wall. The first lap of 1: 44.324 minutes was not enough for Vettel to move on.


Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin move slowly forward in midfield.

The forewings survive the Tecpro impact

During Q2, Vettel almost got it himself. Aston Martin with start number 5 suddenly got stuck head-on in the Tecpro barrier in turn 15. Vettel backed out of the trap, came to the depot for a quick check and was then sent on again. The nose and forewing were undamaged. As with Stroll, who had a similar case at turn 7 in Q1 before finally scrapping his car. Coach Andy Stevenson joked, “If our wing survives twice, it must be too heavy and too strong.”

In Vettel’s case, it was the driver who saved the wing. Normally, pilots flee into the emergency exit on the downhill slope to the left if they anchor too late. Vettel thought he could still force his Aston Martin around the corner. “The round was really good. I did not want to throw it away.” When he realized that was not enough, he had the courage to focus on the Tecpro elements. “My best chance of everything remaining intact was to hit the barrier straight at each other. At first I wanted to turn right into the emergency exit, but I was already too late. If I had done that I would have shaved off the corner of my wing.”

Sebastian Vettel - Aston Martin - Azerbaijan GP 2022 - Baku

Motorsport pictures

Aston Martin deliberately tuned the cars for less downforce.

Car tuned for top speed

During Q3, Vettel had only one set of fresh soft tires left. To save two chances, he had to take enough fuel on board for three laps. “It will cost you a tenth,” Vettel regretted. He also lacked a sparring partner who could have provided him with a slipstream. “At three-second intervals, it’s still two-tenths on the long straight,” Stevenson calculated.

It would have been at least enough to pass Yuki Tsunoda in 8th place. And even Lewis Hamilton was not inaccessibly far away. The Mercedes driver was only 0.167 seconds ahead of the green Red Bull copy. Vettel continues to believe that he can still fight on equal terms with Mercedes drivers this year with the B version of the AMR22. “At the moment we are still learning our new car. We understand it better from weekend to weekend. This time we have dared to test a more aggressive approach.”

Aston Martin tuned their cars for top speed. Vettel marked the second best intermediate time in the third sector behind Fernando Alonso and the sixth highest top speed with 342.4 km / h. “Still, we had a good long run on Friday. Better than Alpha Tauri.” And what is still missing on Mercedes? “Some new parts.” They should come to the home game in England.


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