When Sebastian Vettel made the switch to Aston Martin from Ferrari this season, his fans must have envisioned him being back to his best. However, so far, he has endured a nightmare start to the season; a chain of events have culminated in him finishing outside the points. But, in this turbulent time, his team has his back.
Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer believes that he hasn’t had the rub of the green so far. His pre-season was disruptive, and because of various mechanical issues, he pocketed the least amount of laps.
And then in Qualifying, he was impeded by Haas’ Nikita Mazepin. Coupled with a grid penalty, he began the race in Bahrain from the sharp end of the grip. During the race, he struggled with his tires and collided with Ocon, incurring a 10-second penalty and finishing only 15th.
“He started last and made his made his way up but, like I said, we struggled on the hard tyre, he went on the hard tyre pretty early, so we’ve got to understand that. I’ll have to talk to him, I think he’s getting there,” Szafnauer sympathized with Vettel.
The alarm bells aren’t ringing at Aston Martin yet. It is because Vettel gave a good account of his pace in spite of all of the issues. He had an exciting battle with Fernando Alonso and, other than the incident with Ocon, held himself well. In fact, according to Otmar, he was matching his teammate’s speed.
“I had to leave the debrief so I don’t know what his feedback is,” said Otmar Szafnauer.
“But just from watching it from the pit wall, looking at his lap times, they were not that dissimilar to Lance who’s been driving here for a while and knows us well, knows the car well, and ended up finishing in a relatively decent position and at times was pretty competitive on the medium and soft, and so was Seb.”
We can’t help, but feel a little sorry for him. Vettel’s preparation has been far from ideal, and even the increasing testing cuts aren’t helping him. Even if he doesn’t return to his old self, we hope that he banishes his Ferrari demons and earn back his respect.