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Vettel tried to 'survive and hang in there' during Belgian GP

Sebastian Vettel banked his best result since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, as Aston Martin returned to the points.

Sebastian Vettel says his Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix strategy was to "survive and hang in there" as he recorded an eighth-place finish at Spa-Francorchamps. The four-time World Champion was boosted to P10 on the grid after multiple grid penalties to other drivers, and ran strongly inside the top 10 throughout the race. A three-time winner at Spa, Vettel was able to come home in eighth place, having been overtaken late on by Esteban Ocon for seventh. It was still Aston Martin's best result for Vettel since the Azerbaijan GP in June – with the German admitting his plan was to simply "survive" the opening laps of the race.

Vettel buoyed by higher grid possibilities

"We take the points [and] it was good to see that if we get a decent position on the grid, and then a good first lap, then we can sort of survive and hang in there," Vettel explained to media, including RacingNews365.com , after his final Belgian GP before his retirement at the end of the season. "We had better pace than the Alpines on really old tyres, [but] overall their car is quicker, so it was difficult to keep them behind. We managed with one for most of the race and [with] the other one it was very close. "Strategy-wise maybe we could have come in a bit earlier. With hindsight it's always easy, but overall I'm happy."

Vettel "stuck" during Ocon/Gasly move

On Lap 35 of 44, Vettel was powerless to defend against both Ocon and Pierre Gasly, who attempted to overtake the Aston Martin in a three-wide move down the Kemmel Straight. The move echoed the iconic overtake that Mika Hakkinen pulled on Michael Schumacher during the 2000 Belgian GP, where he used backmarker Ricardo Zonta to facilitate the overtake. Vettel explained that he was left a "bit stuck" as the two French drivers arrived. "I was a bit stuck, [and] I didn't have the DRS and I was running out of energy, so I just watched it in the mirrors," he said. "At some point I just tried to keep in the middle to not be distracting because I knew I will brake and we'll get enough, so I was a bit unfortunate."

Vettel went into a fight "without weapons"

While Ocon progressed forward, Vettel was able to repass Gasly's AlphaTauri, despite having left himself as "dead meat". "I just missed a run on Pierre coming out of the pits, so with a better in-lap or pit-stop, that's half-a-second we could have picked up on him straight away and then it's a different story," added Vettel. "Obviously I picked [DRS] up too early and I was ahead, so that was not great on my side, and then I was dead meat. "I was going into a fight without weapons so I knew that it's too long, the run to Turn 5, and I lost both positions." Vettel's eighth place moves him onto 20 points for the season and 12th in the standings, with teammate Lance Stroll still on just four points following an 11th-place finish.

RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix - Qualifying