Ralf Schumacher says Sebastian Vettel’s first race weekend of the season was so bad “you almost feel sorry for him”.
Having missed the first two grands prix weekends of the season after testing positive for Covid, Vettel returned to the grid at the Australian Grand Prix.
It would be fair to say it was a weekend to forget.
The German’s AMR22 broke down in opening practice with Vettel delighting the fans as he grabbed a scooter to make his way back to the pits in the minutes after the session.
That was against the rules though, the driver hit with a fine and a second following the next day when he was caught speeding in the pit lane in qualifying.
Having crashed in FP3, Vettel faced an anxious wait for his car to be repaired in time for him to do a lap in qualifying.
He made it out with two minutes to spare – perhaps hence the pit-lane speeding – but a lack of running meant he was only fast enough for P18.
Unfortunately for the four-time former World Champion, any hope of a recovery in Sunday’s grand prix ended when he crashed into the wall, his race over.
LAP 24/58 ⚠️ SAFETY CAR ⚠️
Vettel has hit the wall and stopped on track
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 10, 2022
“It was so bad you almost feel sorry for him,” F1-Insider.com quotes former driver turned Sky commentator Schumacher as having said.
“The important thing is Seb gets the pace and the confidence. It’s not so easy for him to put up with either.”
Vettel later conceded it was a lack of track experience and his own error that played a role in Sunday’s crash.
“I tried to get everything out of the car, but in hindsight I may have pushed too hard,” he told Motorsport Germany.
“When I lost it, I saw no chance to catch it.”
Summing up his weekend at the Albert Park circuit, he said: “It only got more difficult because we couldn’t drive much this weekend due to the incidents.
“However, I am convinced it will get better – it can’t get any worse than this.”
With Lance Stroll P12 in Melbourne, Aston Martin are now the only team yet to get off the mark in this year’s championship.
A weekend to forget for Aston Martin
Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel both suffered at Aston Martin in Melbourne, for different reasons.