Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Vettel sees “steep learning curve” ahead after covering fewest laps of any driver

2021 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel said he needed 100 more laps in his car after covering the lowest mileage of all 20 race drivers in pre-season testing.

The Aston Martin driver covered 117 laps, less than half as many as Pierre Gasly, who was the busiest driver of all. Each race driver had one-and-a-half days in their respective cars apart from the Williams pair, who gave up half a day each to test driver Roy Nissany, yet both covered more ground than Vettel.

The former Ferrari driver only managed 10 laps yesterday after a gearbox failure on his Aston Martin, so was grateful for a more productive end to his test.

“It was extremely useful to have more laps today,” said Vettel. “The track was in a better condition as well, more consistent.

“At this stage, every lap is extremely important to understand the car, to understand how the car wants to be driven, to figure out the differences of my past and my future, so to say.”

However he admitted he and team mate Lance Stroll have much more to learn about the AMR21.

“There’s still a lot that I can improve and there’s still a lot that we can improve,” said Vettel. “We have to learn obviously a great deal about the car still, when it comes to set-up and so on.

“But I think everybody’s in the same position because with three days of running it’s impossible to get everything in. I think for us the first couple of races will be, especially for me, a steep learning curve, but we’ll take it from there.”

Asked how much more running he needs in the car Vettel said: “100 laps? I don’t know.

“Obviously I would have liked to just get more mileage. That’s the main thing. Today was very busy and I tried to make use of the track time, which I felt I did. And it was very good for me, I learned a lot of things.

“So now it’s obviously [important] to remember all these things and give feedback and remember going forward. This is the key.

“As I said, I’m just short on mileage and I think obviously with that, we have a lot of tyres sets that we didn’t use just because we didn’t run. Overall it’s probably 100 laps that I’m short and probably something similar for Lance, we both obviously didn’t get what we wanted. But it’s not a big deal, it’s what it is and we’ve got to move on.”

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2021 pre-season testing mileages by driver

DriverLapsKilometres
Pierre Gasly2361277.232
Kimi Raikkonen2291239.348
Nikita Mazepin2131152.756
Charles Leclerc2121147.344
Fernando Alonso2061114.872
Max Verstappen2031098.636
Lance Stroll1961060.752
Antonio Giovinazzi1931044.516
Carlos Sainz Jnr1921039.104
Esteban Ocon1901028.28
Yuki Tsunoda1851001.22
Mick Schumacher179968.748
Daniel Ricciardo173936.276
Sergio Perez166898.392
George Russell158855.096
Lando Norris154833.448
Lewis Hamilton154833.448
Valtteri Bottas148800.976
Nicholas Latifi132714.384
Sebastian Vettel117633.204
Roy Nissany83449.196

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Vettel sees “steep learning curve” ahead after covering fewest laps of any driver”

  1. Already making excuses for when he gets owned by Stroll. Ric and Leclerc are one thing, but this is going to be embarrassing.

    1. @darryn I’m afraid you might get this one right, LOL.

    2. He is saying that he couldn’t achieve what he came out to do due mishaps. He is in a new team. He has done least amount of laps that will be racing this season. I don’t think there is any excuses here. Mercedes drivers said the same thing about their test weekend.

  2. Funny that author choose to name Seb as former Ferrari driver.

    If he cannot give Stroll a run for his money he might have even more acolades of the former type.

  3. 100 laps lost is a lot when learning a new car. This is going to hamper him, but he sounds confident so let’s see. First race practice and even Q1 he can recover some of that anyway.

    1. He’s a 4 time world champion. This is an excuse. Senna used to show up on the Friday of the first race weekend after jetskiing in Brazil all winter in his later years.

      1. What could Senna, and every one else back in the day, adjust in the car while driving? Ride height, brake balance and turbo boost?

        These guys have a multitude of stuff that can be changed: diff, ride, engine modes (not so much this year but still…) tyre wear, energy deployment and recovery… just by changing diff and ride settings you get a totally different car, let alone trying everything in the mix… 100 laps is just covering the basic stuff about the car.

  4. Don’t think he’s making any excuses just stating it as it is – they did lose a lot of track time ( Seb more than Stroll) but as he says it is what it is – he actually sounds positive, I reckon it’s a decent car – just need to get some laps in

  5. I love to do these calculations so as follows

    Teams:

    1. Alfa Romeo 422
    2. Alpha Tauri 421
    3. Ferrari 404
    4. Alpine 396
    5. Haas 392
    6. Williams 373
    7. Red Bull 369
    8. Mclaren 327
    9. Aston Martin 313
    10. Mercedes 302

    Engines:

    1. Mercedes (8 cars) 1315
    2. Ferrari (6 cars) 1218
    3. Honda (4 cars) 790
    4. Alpine (2 cars) 396

    But if you divide laps by how many cars each manufacturer has it is much more precise and gives a wider picture where things stand

    1. Ferrari (6 cars) 203/car
    2. Alpine (2 cars) 198/car
    3. Honda (4 cars) 197,5/car
    4. Mercedes (8 cars) 164.3/car

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