Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel finished at the bottom of the timesheets on Saturday, completing just 10 laps due to a gearbox malady.
Sebastian Vettel was left standing around in the garage for most of his scheduled morning session at the Bahrain International Circuit. The four time Champion could only put in 10 laps in total after having to return to the pits for a gearbox change after a hydraulic issue on his car. He finished at the very bottom of the timesheets for the day, over eight seconds away from the eventual fastest time, set by Valtteri Bottas.
“It was not such a busy day for me.” said Vettel afterwards. “We experienced a gearbox issue quite early on and that kept the car in the garage. The guys did a great job to quickly fit a new gearbox and we got back out just before the end of the morning session.”
“Doing so few laps today wasn’t ideal because there is just one more day of testing before we come back here for the race and I am still learning about this new car.”
Vettel only has half a day left at the wheel of the AMR21 before the season opening race at the same venue in two weeks time, and he says he still has plenty to learn before he feels completely comfortable.
“I’m working with a different power unit compared to the past, which means there are lots of new procedures involved,” Vettel said. “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. I am looking forward to going over the data tonight and continuing to make progress with the car.”
While Vettel’s test has been low-key, Lance Stroll has shown there’s plenty of potential with the new car. The Canadian stepped into the AMR21 for the afternoon and, late in the evening, stuck on the C5 compound to leap up the order into P3. He finished less than 0.2 behind pacesetter Valtteri Bottas on the same compound, with the pair separated by Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly.
“Overall a very positive afternoon after a difficult morning for Sebastian where some technical issues limited our running,” Stroll said after the day. “Track conditions were not so easy – it was still quite windy, but even in those conditions it felt great to be back driving and getting lots of laps under my belt. The afternoon programme went to plan: we completed the main jobs and ticked off the test items. There’s still lots to catch up on tomorrow, but I’m feeling pretty pleased with a solid afternoon.”