The Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team is part of a tight midfield battle in the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The team after a poor start in the first race is slowly improving race by race. The team had a decent start to the Portuguese Grand Prix at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve on Friday.
Lance Stroll has scored points in the first two races of the season. His more illustrious team-mate Sebastian Vettel has struggled to come to terms with the new car.
Stroll had good practice sessions putting in the laps and improving to ninth position in the second free practice session after he finished eleventh in the opening session. The young Canadian has looked comfortable in the car and has outperformed Vettel so far.
The Canadian was satisfied with his performance on Friday and said: “It is great to be back in Portugal. The track is a lot of fun and the elevation changes are a real challenge inside the car. The conditions were not ideal today, which made it quite tricky to find the best balance – but I think everyone would say the same after today’s running.
“We will all be looking to make gains tomorrow. With just six tenths separating the top 10 cars, qualifying should be unpredictable and a great watch for the fans back home. I am excited to get going tomorrow.”
Vettel – “Every lap is important for understanding the car and making improvements”
Vettel has struggled to extract performance from the car in the first two races. Combined with bad luck and penalties the German has had a miserable start to the season in the new team. Vettel has to come to terms quickly with the new car and redeem himself sooner rather than later. On Friday, he languished in sixteenth and fifteenth positions in the two practice sessions respectively.
Vettel managed to put in a significant number of laps which he hopes will help him become more comfortable in the car. Vettel described his Friday performance as: “It was not easy to get the laps together out there because although the track surface has more grip than it did in last year’s race, it is still quite tricky.
“The windy conditions were also challenging, but it did not stop us completing plenty of laps and working through the programme. Every lap is important for understanding the car and making improvements, so it was positive in that sense. Getting the balance right for qualifying and making sure we hook up the laps tomorrow is the focus tonight.”
Vettel is yet to make an appearance in the final qualification session. The Aston Martin team will need Vettel to start performing, if they are to have any impact in the tight midfield battle that is unfolding this season.