Vettel ‘had catching up to do’ after FP1 breakdown

Date published: September 3 2021 - Henry Valantine

Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin breaks down at Dutch GP.

Sebastian Vettel admitted he was pleased for a “decent afternoon” at Zandvoort, after an engine issue stopped him early in first practice.

Vettel’s breakdown meant the first practice session was halted for over 30 minutes, hampering not just his but everyone else’s running on Friday morning.

His Aston Martin was still being fixed as the lights went green for FP2 in the afternoon, but Lewis Hamilton’s own power unit issue early on brought the red flag back out, allowing Vettel’s crew to fix his car while no-one else was able to benefit from practicing without him.

“I didn’t get any driving as I caused the majority of the red flags… the red flags didn’t affect us, but I also caused it,” Vettel quipped when asked about how the red flags affected proceedings.

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But Vettel was grateful for his prior knowledge of the circuit to call upon as he headed out for FP2, having last driven there in 2006 in his time in Formula 3, so he was able to get up to speed quickly.

The four-time World Champion was able to put himself P10 on limited running in second practice, which left him satisfied at the end of the day’s running – while giving his glowing review of the circuit.

“I think overall, it was a decent afternoon,” he said. “We had some catching up to do and I had to get in the rhythm quickly, but it helps that I’ve been here many years ago and they didn’t change too much on the track, which is good news.

“The bits they changed, I think they changed for the better. It’s very exciting with the banking, so I’m not quite clear which line to take yet, but I’ll have a little bit more time tomorrow.”

“It is [exciting], I wish they had more of that, cambered corners are more positive. Off camber, they do for water drainage but it’s very boring because you lose grip.

“But that, I think, looks exciting in the car as well.”

But when it comes to Aston Martin’s pace overall, the German still isn’t quite sure where the team sit in the current pecking order.

“I don’t know, with our fastest laps we couldn’t complete the lap, but I think it should be okay tomorrow,” Vettel continued to Formula1.com.

“We still have some bits we can improve in the car, I feel I’m not yet quite there from a driving point of view.

“The car, I think, can be improved, so we should be able to take a step. The others, I hope, are not able to do that and then we’ll see where we are.”