Sebastian Vettel stumbled out of the blocks in Portimao, explaining that he and the Aston Martin AMR21 are not yet in sync.
It is safe to say that the Aston Martin chapter of Vettel’s career is yet to truly come to life. Bahrain and Imola were underwhelming for various reasons, some out of Vettel’s control, but Friday practice at the Portuguese Grand Prix highlighted a general lack of pace.
Lance Stroll was the faster of the Aston Martin duo in both sessions as the gap increased from half a second to over six tenths by the end of FP2, and Vettel was clear that the AMR21 is not yet doing what he wants it to do.
“I did not feel comfortable in the short run, at the moment it is still difficult to put everything together,” Vettel told reporters.
“We tried quite a few things, but did not achieve the best result yet. With all the things we tried, I am sure there will be something for tomorrow.
“The car does not yet do what I want it to do. I think we can still work on the setup here, also on the driving style. On the long run, it’s a bit better, having more laps. On the short run, it was difficult to put the tyres in the right window.”
To those outside looking in on the situation, such a large deficit for Vettel to Stroll will be a huge cause for concern.
But the four-time World Champion is not worried, stating that his team-mate was running a “different specification” on Friday.
“No, not really,” Vettel replied when asked if he was frustrated to be dropping six tenths to his team-mate.
“He’s driving a slightly different specification this weekend, and that was clear from the start. I hope that he can make a little step forward with it.”