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Vettel knows where Aston Martin "can improve" despite raft "of new things to learn"

Vettel knows where Aston Martin "can improve" despite raft "of new things to learn"

F1 News

Vettel knows where Aston Martin "can improve" despite raft "of new things to learn"

Vettel knows where Aston Martin "can improve" despite raft "of new things to learn"

Sebastian Vettel believes he gained a good understanding of where Aston Martin can improve on the team's return to Formula 1 after a 61-year absence.

On the first day of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit, and on his first day as an Aston Martin driver after six seasons with Ferrari, Vettel completed 51 laps in the AMR21.

The 33-year-old's best lap of one minute 33.742secs was only good enough for 13th on the 17-strong timesheet, and two seconds down on team-mate Lance Stroll who was fourth quickest.

But the day for Vettel was more of a sighter, to understand both a new car, power unit and the team overall, with the four-time champion confident he can help it progress.

“It was a very productive morning and really the first opportunity we've had to truly put the AMR21 through its paces," said Vettel.

"As I expected, there are a lot of new things to learn. I'm working with a different power unit compared to the past, which means there are lots of new procedures involved.

"Then there's a new steering wheel with all its buttons, and different braking too, so I'm very aware that there is a lot to learn. The important thing is that I know where we can improve."

Assessing his track running in general, Vettel was amongst the morning group who encountered very blustery conditions which gave way to a sandstorm in the afternoon when Stroll was on the circuit.

"It was tricky on track because it was so windy out there," added Vettel. "You could see that everyone was fighting for grip.

"Today wasn't about lap times, it was about finding a good balance in the car and getting a true read on it while collecting lots of important data, which we managed by running 51 laps.

"I am looking forward to going over the data tonight and continuing to make progress with the car. I think we can say it was a good first day for the AMR21.”

That was echoed by Stroll who covered 46 laps, finishing 1.1secs behind the lead time set by Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

While believing no driver "found it easy out there", Stroll added: "Conditions were really tricky. You could feel the effect of the wind on the run down to turn one, and you could feel the tailwind in certain corners too.

"It’s early days to be making judgements on the car and we have to remember there is a cut in downforce, which you can feel in the car, and there are new tyres too.

"The important thing is that we made an encouraging start and it felt good to drive the AMR21. It’s great to be back in the car and really feeling the energy of the team.

"It is a new beginning as Aston Martin and I am enjoying working with Sebastian and getting to know how he operates.

"All in all, it’s been a productive session and I definitely enjoyed my day in the AMR21.”

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