Former F1 driver Hans-Joachim Stuck said he was “a little disappointed” by Sebastian Vettel after his first season at Aston Martin.
The team finished a distant P7 in the Constructors’ Championship after coming fourth in 2020 as Racing Point, but while there were high points such as his podium in Azerbaijan (with another podium in Hungary taken away for a fuel infringement in his car), he generally struggled towards the lower reaches of the midfield.
He beat team-mate Lance Stroll on points over the course of the year, but two-time F1 podium finisher and double Le Mans winner Stuck thinks the four-time World Champion did not show the best of himself overall in 2021.
The 71-year-old remains convinced Vettel can still fight with the best, but hopes the team can provide him with a better car.
“Sebastian Vettel has set a few highlights in the Aston Martin this season, but otherwise I have to say that I am personally a little disappointed. There wasn’t much special about it,” Stuck said to Eurosport.
“Sporting-wise, he can keep up without question. There are always fluctuations with Vettel, but that’s also down to his team.
“From Aston Martin’s point of view, however, the season has gone well overall. That whets the appetite for the future.”
Stuck also discussed the season of Mick Schumacher in his rookie year in F1, with Vettel often seen as a mentor to the Haas driver – but the Aston Martin man played down that assumption, saying he’s “more a friend” than a guide.
Schumacher has been stuck at the back of the field in his Haas, which was often quite a lot slower than the rest of the pack.
Stuck believes the young German made the best of his lot though, having dominated against Nikita Mazepin in the same car throughout the year.
Haas hope to climb their way back towards the midfield battle in 2022, but former Brabham and March driver Stuck said Schumacher has been “flawless” in the way he has driven overall, and the crashes he’s suffered have simply been a part of the learning process.
“Mick Schumacher is paying his dues at the moment in the Haas,” said Stuck. “What I think is great, though, is that he has Mazepin, with whom he can compete effectively, under control. That’s important.
“That he also flies off [track] sometimes in his first year is completely normal.
“He has to learn that. Otherwise he won’t know where the limit is. Overall, my conclusion is: Mick Schumacher has done the job.
“He made a very good application for next year and the future. That was flawless.”