Formula One: Vettel gets a little help from a friend

Vettel in action during the third practice session, Aug 26, 2017.
Vettel in action during the third practice session, Aug 26, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (AFP) - Sebastian Vettel admitted he needed "a little help from a friend" to enable him to leap from fifth to second on the grid in Saturday's (Aug 26) qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion and current series leader gained from a mistake by Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen in the closing minutes of a session dominated by Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher's record by earning the 68th pole position of his career at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Raikkonen made an error on his final flying lap, but then helped to give Germany's Vettel a slipstream on his last hot lap to assist him in lining up alongside Hamilton at the front of the grid for Sunday's 44-lap race.

It capped a good day for Vettel who had earlier ended all speculation about his future with Ferrari when the team announced he had agreed a new three-year contract.

 

Discussing qualifying, Vettel said: "I think I had a little bit of help from a friend.

"Kimi had to abort his lap and was very generous giving me a nice tow in the last sector, which got me like two-tenths.

"So, that helped - it made it more comfortable with Valtteri (Bottas).

"I managed to get it right and get it across the line." Vettel said he had been happy with his team's performance in qualifying and he expected big things on Sunday.

"Our pace has been very good this weekend, less for one lap, more for long runs, so let's see what we can do."