I think the general consensus was that the RB8 had the speed all along, they just couldn't unlock it. Remember the RB8 evolved from the RB7 - no slouch of a car, and yes the EBD was a key function, but the rest of the car was good too. No-one has specifically defined the exact component that 'switched' it on - which probably indicates it was a series of smaller tweaks that came together. Once they got that exhaust running where they needed it, plus sorting the aero to help get it there, that was arguably the biggest step. People have also suggested that the DDRS slots where there in Valencia as well, however no obvious way to blow them - perhaps there was a non-obvious way too? There was also the re-introduction the tunnel which suggested the starter motor hole being blown, this of course remains on the car today. RBR also still had the preferred Engine Map running as well - which was later 'clarified' and removed.
The experts all say rear end stability at Valencia is key and RBR have always had their cars strong in this area which is why they were so much quicker. It's quite possible all of these things came together in Valencia to finally give them back a good chunk of the EBD that was removed for this year - this would certainly explain the rocket Vettel had..
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