Vettel targets a ‘clean weekend’ in Portugal

Jamie Woodhouse
Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel wants a "clean weekend" in Portugal.

Sebastian Vettel hopes to make further progress in understanding his Aston Martin AMR21 with a “clean” Portuguese Grand Prix.

The four-time World Champion has found it tough going in the opening two rounds of the season – his Aston Martin career is yet to take off.

Bahrain was a bit of a disaster for Vettel thanks to a Q1 elimination and later an ugly error which saw him spin Esteban Ocon in the race.

Imola then was just one piece of bad luck after another. Smoking brakes before the start would lead to a 10-second stop/go penalty as Aston Martin failed to have the wheels back on Vettel’s car before the five minute warning, while a gearbox issue then forced Vettel to retire with a few laps to go.

It is no surprise, then, that Vettel is just asking for a clean weekend at the Algarve International Circuit to get a better understanding of his AMR21.

“I think Portimão is a good place to aim for a clean weekend,” he said.

“The circuit is a high-speed autodrome; very smooth, and with plenty of gradient. It’s fun to drive, and I think it’ll be a good place to get a better handle on the limits of the AMR21.

“I know I’m yet to get the maximum from the car – but the fact that we understand that is another good reason to keep pushing.”

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Vettel was a Ferrari driver when Formula 1 visited this circuit for the first time in 2020, scoring a single point.

Lance Stroll meanwhile was the only driver not to finish that race on an afternoon where he picked up a five-second penalty for colliding with Lando Norris, so this time around the Canadian is looking for a stronger showing having scored points in the opening two rounds of 2021.

“We head to Portugal feeling positive that we’re making progress in unlocking the full potential of the AMR21,” he said.

“There’s an exciting battle within the midfield pack, and our aim is to compete at the front of it – another clean weekend, and the prospect of more points, will ensure we maintain our momentum.”

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