Vettel’s era at Aston Martin didn’t start well. In the first race of the season in Bahrain, the German finished only as of the 18th in the qualifiers, and due to the penalty, he started as the last. Things were no better in the race, he finished only 15th, and his race was marked by a 10-second penalty he earned after crashing into Esteban Ocon’s Alpine.
The four-time world champion drove just 117 laps in pre-season testing, which is less than all other drivers with the exception of Roy Nissany who is a test driver at Williams. Despite the problems, Aston Martin boss Otmar Szafnauer remains confident that things will get better for Vettel and Aston Martin.
“If you look positively, Sebastian started last, and he spent a good part of the race in the top 10,” comments Szafnauer. “I had to leave the meeting after the race so I don’t know what feedback he said, but watching the race from the pit wall his times weren’t too different from the Lance’s.
Both drivers were competitive on medium and soft. ” Everyone knows that Vettel had a very bad season at Ferrari last year, so expectations for his start with Aston Martin were pretty high. No one can say for sure if Vettel will return to his old, golden form, but his new boss is pretty sure he will.
"It is too early for such comments," Szafnauer said of those who doubted Vettel.
Szaufneur believes in Vettel
"It is only the first days. The winter test lasted only three days and he had to share that time with Lance, he didn't have many laps behind him and he still had all sorts of problems with the car.
“The car he drives now is completely different from the one he drove before. From the characteristics of the car, the drive unit, things are different now. ” "The only time he was really happy with the car and its settings was in qualifying when he had yellow flags."
"So I'm still convinced that Seb will be at a high level," he concludes. Certainly, Vettel disappointed last season, and many F1 fans expected Vettel to be the old one again, and to enter this season furiously.
Still, a lot of things didn’t match up and he had a disappointing start again, but given his experience, nothing is over yet. If Vettel finds the right form and if the car is good, Vettel could deny all those who think that his "time has passed"