Sebastian Vettel has admitted he goes into the new season well short of the mileage he needs to feel fully conversant with the Aston Martin.
A gearshift problem kept Vettel in the garage for all but six laps of driving on Saturday morning, while his final stint was ended early by a loss of boost pressure.
All told, the German completed a total of just 117 laps, putting him bottom of the list among the 20 race drivers. In contrast, Pierre Gasly had more than twice his amount.
Asked how far behind the planned schedule he was, Vettel, quoted by Autosport, said: “One hundred laps! Obviously I would have liked to just get more mileage. That’s the main thing.
“Sunday was very busy and I tried to make use of the track time, which I felt I did, and it was very good for me and I learned a lot of things. Now it’s obviously to remember all these things and give feedback and remember going forward.
“Overall it is probably 100 laps that I’m short, then probably something similar for Lance [Stroll, who completed 197]. We both obviously didn’t get what we wanted. But it’s not a big deal, it is what it is and we’ve got to move on.”
Not what we were hoping for but Seb is still remaining positive. 🤜🤛
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) March 14, 2021
Vettel said understanding the car through increased mileage was more important than trying to find the limits with a fast lap, having finished six seconds off the pace on the final day of running before the opening Bahrain Grand Prix weekend from March 26-28.
“More important than one lap is to really understand the car and for that, I think just doing more and more laps helps,” he added. “Doing a push lap is just putting the things together, or the lessons you learn or acquire, so I’m not worried about that.
“That’s obviously a box we haven’t ticked. I’m sure that come the race weekend and qualifying we’ll see, and the first race is the first race and if it happens the way it’s planned, there’s another 22 to come after that.
“We had a mixed test with some hiccups, but there’s plenty of time and it will be a busy year so we will try to obviously start off well.”