Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Performance under pressure still Vettel’s weakness – Berger

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Former Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger says Sebastian Vettel’s career since his four world championships victories has shown he doesn’t perform well under pressure.

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In brief

Ricciardo carried damage

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021
Ricciardo had a damaged floor in Bahrain
Daniel Ricciardo’s first-lap contact with Pierre Gasly caused floor damage which cost him “a considerable amount of downforce”, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl revealed yesterday following the team’s post-race inspection of his MCL35M.

“Despite the performance loss Daniel used his experience to cope with the issues and score important points for the team,” said Seidl. “We now look forward to the next race.”

F1 confirms Covid-19 cases in Bahrain

F1 and the FIA has confirmed 12 positive cases of Covid-19 were identified during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend out of a total of 8,150 tests conducted.

Among the cases are believed to be two members of the Aston Martin team who were isolated after testing positive on Thursday.

Formula E adds second Safety Car

Formula E will use two different Safety Cars this season: This Mini Electric Pacesetter will be used at some races instead of the usual BMW i Roadster. It weighs 1,230kg – 130kg less than the standard Mini Cooper SE. It and produces 135kW, covering 0-100kph in 6.7 seconds, 0.6s quicker than the standard model.

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Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Comment of the day

Following Ferrari’s step forward, who will emerge on top in F1’s midfield?

It’s definitely a step forward and it seems the power unit is now more powerful than the Renault, but still not on the same level as Honda and Mercedes.

Ferrari seems to have halved the gap to Mercedes in terms of power output, but still some 20-25bhp down. Their car is also less draggy, but not enough in my opinion, considering Norris passed Leclerc easily into turn one and Sainz was having difficulties to pass Stroll until the tyres wore off on the Aston Martin.

Leclerc’s race pace wasn’t that great to be honest, especially his final stint on the hards was far from impressive, as he lost 10 seconds to Norris in the final 20 laps alone. Sainz, on the other hand, had pretty decent pace once he was in clear air. He was constantly 0.5-0.7s per lap quicker than his teammate in the final stint, until he got stuck in Daniel Ricciardo’s dirty air. That means there’s even more pace in the car than Leclerc was able to show.

The next couple of races will be very interesting to watch. Who will come out on top of the midfield? McLaren, Ferrari or AlphaTauri?

I’d expect Ferrari to be stronger in the next rounds (especially Portimao), but time will tell.
Srdjan Mandic (@Srga91)

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On this day in F1

Start, Interlagos, 1996
Hill won at a streaming wet Interlagos today in 1996
  • 25 years ago today Damon Hill won a soaking wet Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos ahead of Jean Alesi, with Michael Schumacher third in his second race for Ferrari, a lap behind

March on RaceFans

Pictures: Every F1 driver’s helmet design for 2021

A selection of RaceFans’s top in-depth reads from last month which you might have missed:

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  • 37 comments on “Performance under pressure still Vettel’s weakness – Berger”

    1. One thing is Vettel’s Perfomance under pressure but then again he still a 4 time F1 Champion.

      Is no one going to talk about Max Verstappen’s performance under a little bit of pressure from Lewis having the fastest car all weekend. Max should have won that race!!

      Reply moderated
      1. If the fastest car won every race, no one would watch racing- this is just how things turn out some times. The speed difference between the two is clearly relatively close on race day, even if the RB is slightly ahead

        1. People like to complain about Vettel but Max makes small silly mistakes too often. Like last season getting behind PER in the rain.

        2. The point is, his fans pretend that Verstappen would win everything if only he had a competitive car. Races like Hungary and Monaco 2019, Turkey and Sakhir 2020 and this race show that is not really the case

          1. @f1osaurus i dont like max as much, but he is too young, and proud of himself, maturing will change his attitude and drive style hopefully… he is showing signs of it… hopefully we all can enjoy his racing in fair grounds without dirty crashes/defenses… he has a very competitive car now, and he is aware of it, so he is in a way acting accordingly, even though challenging to make some bad decisions, he hasnt done it, yet! young max of past years, turn 4 would have been either a 2 dnf, or radio deaf max, cheering like a schmuck at the end… hopefuly we see more of current max than past years…

            1. @mysticus Agreed it’s gotten a little less bad. At least he hasn’t shown much of the overly dirty blocking moves which he showed at the beginning of his F1 career. And indeed that he did not crash into Hamilton is also more mature than he’d be in the past.

    2. Vettel’s mistake was the kind of mistake a karting racer makes when moving to cars with high downforce. While braking you move behind the opponent and the loss of downforce causes an instant wheel lockup.
      It was embarrassing to watch

      1. @johnplato Realistically, Aston Martin will have to wait how many races for Vettel to get to Stroll’s level? And how many more to reach Perez’s level set last year? The low-rake car, especially with poor rear downforce due to the new regulations, just doesn’t suit Vettel’s style at all and isn’t going to improve much over the season. Pretty disastrous for driver and team since he’s supposed to be leading from the front. Watching DtS on Netflix, my sympathy for the team is zero though, really shoddy treatment of Perez.

        1. Car doesn’t suit Vettel? That was what people said about Ferrari last year so when will the car suit him? Which car can?

          1. The red bull with the double diffuser

            1. Even then he was taking out his teammate and rivals and kept blaming everyone else for mistakes.

            2. Not after the race, Chaitanya. Perception in the car can often be misleading, he did own up to it, though.

            3. Yes, even with red bull he’s always been mistake prone, remember the canada 2019 gp? Was one of his best races that year and it reminded me of red bull vettel, he drove fairly well with a ferrari that had a pace advantage in qualifying and slight disadvantage in race pace against mercedes and kept hamilton behind for most of the race, then made a mistake under pressure, went wide, didn’t want to cede the position to hamilton, and that ended up with a penalty, and on the race track he managed to keep him behind till the end, a mistake like this as you saw this last race is something even hamilton can make, but vettel seems to really need to be leading and not having to deal with battles on track to get good performance out, which red bull 2010-2013 allowed him and to some extent the 2017-2018 ferraris, but when the car got worse (2020 and this year ofc) he’s not like alonso and schumacher, he can’t do the amount of overtakes needed in the midfield without frequent crashes.

            4. And also as far as I saw in 2020, he doesn’t seem to be able, like those 2, to get the most out of a bad car speed wise either, and leclerc showed that as well.

            5. @magon4 Did he accept the blame for Turkey 2010? Did he take the blame for Canada 2019? Did he take the blame for driving in the back of Ocon in Bahrain?

              I’ll help: No, No and No.

              Even for purposefully crashing into Hamilton in Baku he only apologized a week later (after he was threatened by the FIA)

    3. Interesting extra stuff in this round-up. I wonder will those be regular from now on?

      Re COTD: Time will tell.

      Ricciardo getting floor damage from Gasly’s hit was weird at first because Gasly hit him at the rear only, not the sides. I guess the diffuser that got hit also affected the floor.

      1. The CotD makes a good point that awarding Leclerc a Star drive was a tad generous.
        But similarly Seidl’s feedback tells me that Norris didn’t deserve it either (knowing he lost on Saturday).

        1. @coldfly
          Thanks :D It was only after I looked at the lap time charts I realized Sainz’s pace was stronger than Leclerc’s.
          Obviously, Charles was on of the stars of qualifying, but struggled in the race for whatever reason. Apart from FP1 & qualifying, he didn’t look comfortable with the car, as Sainz was outpacing him in the other sessions (FP2, FP3 and the race). In the end, maybe not too surprising given Sainz’s stronger pace on the long runs of FP2.

      2. Extremely pleasant Roundup article today, really enjoyed the format.

        On F2 and Bruno Michel quotes, I didn’t feel like it was thrice the fun witnessing 13 retirements in a single race weekend with ‘experienced’ racecars.

      3. @jerejj No, soon back to the regular social justice stuff

        1. @balue Enjoy that which you can.

    4. Sebastian’s crash reminded me of Michael Schumacher’s crashes at the end of his career. At some point he might realise the common factor in all the incidents is him.

      It’s sad to say, but if things don’t improve, and he can’t get the car he likes to drive. He could be off at the end of the year.

      1. I think he could be off mid-year if he carries on like this.

        At some point he will do irreversible damage to his legacy.

    5. It is useless to keep talking about Vettel. I guess its just click bait. The story is very clear. He is a mediocre driver, that cant perform under pressure nor in traffic. He is fast though over a single lap without anyone around. When given a winning car he will put it on pole and get you the win. Ask anything else and he wont manage to succeed. Aston Martin hired him because of the marketing value since the team needs to attract funds. On the side it makes the boss son look good so everyone wins. Aston does not expect him to perform but to be an ambassador in a transitional year. In time they will switch to truly competitive drivers.

      1. Hakk the Rack
        31st March 2021, 9:48

        This is totally it. 100% agree.

    6. Strol Sr is the happiest now. At last his son is better than his teammate !!! Mission accomplished. It is interesting how a person who has made a fortune throughout his life (through wise business decisions, I suppose), made such a terrible choice last year. Perez is not Senna but he was the right fit for this car. Saying it in hindsight is easy but this was mentioned by many many people. True, Vettel’s arrival had a positive impact on the value AM shares but his performance will devalue them over time. Again, this was foreseeable.

      Reply moderated
      1. Stroll Sr. should have tried to sign Alonso: The return of a 2 time world champion in the return of Aston Martin to F1….the only problem was that Fernando would have Vandoorned his son.

    7. Thanks guys, for the Cotd! :)
      I didn’t realize before you are editing those to make them more readable xD I will keep that in mind and use less abbreviations next time, so you don’t have to change so much :D

      Regarding the collision and the possible damage to Ricciardo’s car, I have doubts over McLaren’s claims. I watched Gasly’s onboard over and over again, but couldn’t see where he might have caused damage to the McLaren. He hit Ricciardo’s left rear tyre, but nothing else. Unless a substantial amount of Pierre’s front wing got stuck underneath the McLaren, I can’t see what else could have caused a big loss of downforce.
      Maybe the team just wanted to protect their new driver from outside criticism so early on in the season.

      1. That’s my thoughts to. This has been done before to justify lack of performance for a driver (stroll in turkey?), blame it on a loss of downforce only the teams computers can detect and no one else 😁

    8. so a 0.15% chance of getting something that will most likely be nothing worse than the flu. I’ll play those odds.

      1. @lancer033 The problem is you are not just gambling with your own health, but with the health of those you come into contact with. In my personal case, covid was like an extreme 10 day feverish flu with difficulty breathing, and I am a fit person. Hopefully there will be no long term effects. A child, an older person, or someone with underlying medical issues would have been in very serious trouble with my symptoms, had I breathed on them or touched something that they then touched. Best to leave the gambling at the casino.

        1. You’ve got to accept some degree of risk to live. Pretty much everyone I care about has either had it (myself included) or been exposed to it already. Not saying don’t take precautions, but this mentality of hiding in fear is pathetic.

          1. @lancer033 My point is that you can take all the risks you want with your own life, just don’t endanger other people unnecessarily. To do so is selfish.

    9. As a McLaren fan, slightly relieved to learn that Danny Ric had a floor issue which affected his performance.

    10. “But [Vettel] never reacted very well on pressure.” Yeah, I don’t remember him winning two of his four championships at the last round. If that is not driving under pressure, I don’t know what is.

      1. @kaiie I guess “pressure”, means having a car in his vicinity

      2. Anon A. Mouse
        31st March 2021, 20:46

        A lot of Vettel’s success was predicated on a solid qualifying effort coupled with pulling a gap at the start of the race, then maintaining control of the pace. I don’t recall wheel-to-wheel or being chased down strong suits of his. However, we still have to recognize that it takes ability to do what he has done.

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