Sebastian Vettel ended his first qualifying session for Aston Martin “upset and angry” – but because of bad luck rather than the car or any other reason.
The four-time former World Champion, who has joined Aston Martin from Ferrari, will start the 2021 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix in a lowly 18th position on the grid.
It meant a continuation of the troubled start Vettel has endured with his new team, for he had found himself “100 laps short” of the track time he needed after pre-season testing when two of his three sessions were affected by problems with the car.
And with Aston Martin not looking strong in free practice at Bahrain, the issues also extended to Q1 as Vettel’s final run was badly compromised by two separate yellow flags, brandished for incidents involving Nikita Mazepin’s Haas and, ironically, Carlos Sainz – who took his place at Ferrari.
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We gave it everything but we've got some work to do tomorrow. 👊#BahrainGP #Quali pic.twitter.com/Ah7agDb9km
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) March 27, 2021
“Certainly I think there was potential to be a lot faster,” the German told Sky F1. “We just made it across the (chequered) flag, had the issue obviously with the yellow flags during the lap so that made it a little bit impossible to come back.
“But it is what it is now and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.
“I’m learning, I think the quali was good and it felt positive. Obviously I only got a lap and a half. I think we still have a lot of work ahead of us. We would have hoped for a better start, but it’s what it is and hopefully we will have a good race tomorrow.
“If I panic now, would it help? Or if I was really upset? For sure I’m upset and angry that it wasn’t our fault, in a way, not to make it through, but we have to take it and do what we can preparing for tomorrow.”
The 33-year-old added on Sky Italy: “It’s obviously disappointing because I think the car was a lot better in qualifying. We changed some things and it seemed like they would make a huge difference but we haven’t been able to prove that. So it will remain a secret until tomorrow.
“Until now for the whole weekend we haven’t been very fast, so it will be difficult but for sure we will be able to gain some positions.”
One positive for Vettel was that his team-mate Lance Stroll made it through to Q3 and will start from P10, suggesting fears that Aston Martin have fallen a long way back from last year, when they were known as Racing Point, may be misplaced.
Additional reporting by Luca Brambilla
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