Sebastian Vettel says Aston Martin was “not quick enough” in Portugal as his points drought in the 2021 Formula 1 season continued.
Vettel has endured a troubled start to his Aston Martin career, with a Q1 exit and collision in Bahrain followed by a race at Imola that was blighted by technical problems.
Vettel ended a 16-race wait for a Q3 appearance at Portimao but from 10th on the grid relinquished positions to Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.
The four-time world champion finished 13th, one spot ahead of Lance Stroll, who was eliminated in Q1 in the updated AMR21.
“Obviously [it was a] long stint on Medium at the end,” he said. “We had to try, ultimately it is not the strategy to blame or anything else, I think we were just not quick enough to stay with the group fighting for points.
“We need to have a look but ultimately we were not quick enough, [qualifying] was a little bit better, but in race trim we just didn’t have the consistency or the speed.”
Vettel nonetheless expressed hope that the situation can still be turned around.
“We understand the car better and better,” he said. “Obviously we are lacking a little bit of speed so we need to work on that.”
Vettel and Stroll had swapped positions during the closing stages and Aston Martin explained the situation.
“Towards the end, he [Stroll] was running just behind Sebastian,” team boss Otmar Szafnauer said.
“But on fresher tyres, so we asked Sebastian to let Lance past so that he could have a go at trying to catch and pass the cars ahead, to give us an outside chance of nicking a point.
“In the end, Lance was not able to do that so, very sportingly, he gave the place back to Sebastian on the final lap.”
Aston Martin occupies a lowly seventh in the championship.
Colles and Coulthard both have an interesting theory — Vettel was only hired to make Lance Stroll look good. If he beats a former world champion, then he will look like a “future world champion”. A pretty solid theory given the entire grid (except for maybe Mazepin, Giovinazzi, an Latifi) would likely outperform Vettel in the same car.