Bahrain GP: Sebastian Vettel Risks Starting F1 Season Opener Last for Aston Martin

Published 03/28/2021, 2:28 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel in action during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


Sebastian Vettel has seen his bad luck from 2020 continue into the 2021 season as he’s been beset by problems since switching to Aston Martin. He couldn’t have an extended run in the AMR21 as reliability issues in the car plagued him, which continued into Qualifying. Thus, he will now start in a lowly P18 for the main race on Sunday.

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However, things could go from bad to worse for the German as as he faces an investigation into his alleged ignoring of a double yellow flag warning.

The German can count himself a touch unlucky as just as he was about to embark on a flying lap, he had to abort it due to yellow flags and traffic. Vettel will be hoping that the steward investigation doesn’t lead to him starting at the back of the grid.

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Sebastian Vettel the subject of an F1 steward investigation

Just as the Q1 session time limit was winding down, Sebastian Vettel embarked on a final flying lap. This would have seen him safely ensconced in the top 15 for the Q2 session. However, after finishing his out lap, just when he was about to start the flying lap, Haas driver Nikita Mazepin spun ahead of him after jumping the Aston Martin.

This led to a single-waved yellow flag on turn 8.

Four drivers, Vettel, Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll, and George Russell, were the subjects of an initial investigation into the ignoring of the yellow flag. However, the authorities cleared all four of any wrongdoing and didn’t subject them to any penalties.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 26, 2021 Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in action during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

But according to a report, “the FIA stewards have called a new summons for Vettel for “allegedly not respecting double-yellow flags at Turn 1” in Q1 of qualifying. The hearing, issued shortly after 10 pm local time on Saturday evening, will take place on Sunday at 1:30 pm local time at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Will Aston Martin fall down the pecking order in 2021?

If the Qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix is to be taken as evidence, it sure looks like the car has had a massive downturn in performance.

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This comes as a real surprise, as the team, in its previous guise of Racing Point, was consistently the third-fastest car during Qualifying throughout the 2020 season. Considering the AMR21 is mostly a carryover from the 2020 Racing Point, it’s baffling to see.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 26, 2021 Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel in action during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

One possible explanation could be that they have not been able to design the floor of the car quite well. The 2021 season will see new floor regulations, put in place to reduce the downforce experienced by F1 cars. Stroll’s struggles with the car during Q3 point towards that. The car is probably suffering from a lack of rear-end stability as a result of its floor design.

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The team will hope that they can rectify these issues, if not this weekend, then at least by the time the second Grand Prix comes around.

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Ashish Thomas

211 articles

Ashish Thomas is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having followed motorsports since age 5, Ashish holds an enviable knowledge of F1 history. Ashish holds extensive experience in sports writing, having previously worked for SportsQuest and Fansided.

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