Red Bull Racing were delighted to score a 1-2 result in the Belgian Grand Prix after entering the race with concerns over the slick tyres they had damaged in qualifying.
“I'm very happy; today was a very good race for us, although it was not easy with the tyres,” said race winner Sebastian Vettel. “The beginning of the race was more research and science than racing and we sacrificed a lot by stopping very early. We had a good feeling though and I came in again when the safety car came out, 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.”
Mark Webber made a bad start, just as he did 12 months ago. However, the Australian managed to recover to finish a fine second behind his teammates.
“The lights went out and I got anti-stall at the start,” he said. “I don't know whether it was due to the start being uphill or not. We were worried about the tyres going into the race and had a lot of meetings this morning. In the end, the right decisions were made and the team reacted incredibly well and did some good research overnight to work out how we could best get through the race.
“We did a lot of damage to the tyres in qualifying and had to stop pretty early to protect ourselves from any issues from the tyre which put us out of position. We picked some people off, but in terms of the result I was after I was frustrated at that point. Then the safety car came out. The team wanted me to pit, but when I got the instructions of what to do in the pit lane I was the wrong side of the pit wall – I never heard the call to come in.
“I was worried, but we kept going and the car behaved well. I drove well from then on and we got a good result in what was one of the team's best ever one-two finishes. It was a great weekend for the team and they deserve this result.”
Team principal Christian Horner explained his team's magnificent result.
“A fantastic team result – a one-two in Spa and our first ever victory here, it's phenomenal for the team. Sebastian made a good start, but Mark looked like he got the anti-stall and dropped down the order. Having damaged our tyres in qualifying, we had some concerns about them going into the race based on a lack of knowledge after all the wet running this weekend. So, we were conservative with the strategy opting to stop Mark on lap three and Sebastian a lap or so later. More than anything we wanted to see how the tyres were behaving. We put Mark onto the prime tyre at that point and we could see, fairly early on, that it was performing well.
At the safety car we pitted Sebastian for another set of options, which worked out well for him. After a radio issue, Mark stayed out on the prime, which was still looking very strong at that point. Sebastian then got his head down and conserved the tyres when he needed to, pushed when he needed to and closed out a very satisfying victory – which was backed up by Mark who hunted down Fernando in the closing laps and passed him.
“It rounded off a great weekend for the team; it's a lot of points in both Championships and we have extended our lead in both the Drivers' and Constructors' at a circuit which we have not previously won at – so it's a fantastic day for Red Bull.”