Aston Martin hard in the race at Australian GP

Even after two grands prix of hardship, Sebastian Vettel might have preferred to live it from afar, comfortably on his couch, rather than crossing the planet for next to nothing. Package because positive for Covid-19 and replaced by Nico Hulkenberg for Bahrain and then Saudi Arabia, the German finally launched his season in Australia this weekend. But so far he has been spared nothing.

On Friday, the Mercedes engine of his Aston Martin gave up the ghost when Vettel had completed 18 laps and had 15 minutes left in this first practice session. After following the latter around the edge of the track, he returned to his booth on a scooter he had borrowed from a commissioner, the helmet simply resting on his skull and waved both hands at the crowd instead of his handlebars to hold on. A ride that did not please the FIA, as the regulations state that unless advised by a commissioner, you must wait five minutes after the end of a session to be able to use the route. Vettel was fined €5,000 and had plenty of time to worry as the engine change of his single-seater deprived him of the second practice session.

This Saturday couldn’t have gone worse for him, we thought. It still didn’t go far. While in the third free practice he would rather multiply the passages through the pits than do a flying lap, Vettel was caught by the patrol: 85.1 km / h instead of the 80 rules and an additional €600 fine for his team. When he finally launched a clock strike on this new version of Albert Park, the four-time world champion lost control of his single-seater in Turn 10 and damaged it badly against the rails.

The timing for the repairs was expected to be tight for qualifying, especially as Lance Stroll had the good idea of ​​damaging his as well at the end of FP3… German F1 was still in the hands of Aston Martin’s overworked mechanics near the end of Q1, with little hope of hitting the track. A break in the session gave them extra time, but it was the result of an unbelievable collision between Nicholas Latifi and… Lance Stroll, author of a strange steering wheel as his compatriot’s Williams passed him quietly inside, both drivers on their preparation round. Stroll, found responsible by the marshals, suffered a drop of three places on the starting grid…when he was already sentenced to the last.

Stroll’s clumsiness and the time it took to clear the debris from the two cars allowed the other part of the Aston Martin garage to finish their job and send Vettel to the track at the restart, for a single attempt that ended with the worst time. the two Canadians behind him on the grid. “It looked bad, to be able to repair the car in time we had to count on a red flag. That’s what happened and it got us on the track, which was pretty amazing. On the other hand, in terms of results, it is certain that it is not brilliant »Vettel summed up. “I should be able to do more laps in the race than in the last two days,” he hoped, still finding the strength to smile.

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