'Still a lot to try, a lot to learn' says Vettel

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR21 practices a pit stop.
© XPB 

Sebastian Vettel's first weeks at Aston Martin after his off-season move from Ferrari continue to be something of a slow burn, but he insists there's more to come and that "It seems like fun" so far.

Vettel's first outing in the car in pre-season testing earlier this month was compromised by technical issues that left him completing just 117 laps, less mileage than any of the other full-time drivers taking part.

"He had a disrupted test, so it was about getting him as much track time as possible today," Aston Martin CEO and team principal Otmar Szafnauer confirmed. "The more comfortable he is with the car, the more he can push."

Vettel's transition to his new team was further compromised by the move to shorter free practice sessions at Grand Prix weekends, with both FP1 and FP2 cut back to just one hour each.

“It’s very busy with less time in the practice sessions, but we were able to get a lot out of it," Vettel said after finishing the daytime session 12th fastest and slipping to 14th in the evening run under the floodlights.

"We tried to get the most out of the time that we had," he said, agreeing that it meant he still has a lot to learn about the new AMR21.

"Every lap still still helps you to get used to the car and get into a rhythm," he said. "I'm trying a lot of things. There's a lot still to try, a lot to learn. It seems like fun.

"There's still a lot left on the table just to get used to the car, and being able to squeeze the limit. Right now it seems a bit up and down.

"Sometimes I'm really good, in other corners I'm far out," he acknowledged. "That's normal, but hopefully come tomorrow with more consistent running, I'm able to squeeze the limit everywhere.

"I’m looking forward to going over the data and coming back tomorrow with the insights we have gained," he added. "The car was really promising in some corners and less so in others, but that’s normal at this stage of the season.

As for how he felt about the shorter Friday sessions which led to a crowded time on track, Vettel shrugged and responded: "It is what it is."

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Aston Martin F1 Team in the FIA Press Conference.

"We're obviously now looking into some of the stuff that we tried in the afternoon or the evening," he added. "Hopefully it will be a bit more clear and calmer tomorrow.

"As you can see, the midfield is very tight and everyone is learning quickly, but I hope we will be a factor.”

Vettel's team mate Lance Stroll was slightly slower than the four-time world champion in first practice but improved to eighth quickest in the evening.

“It was great to be back in the car today and I’m excited to get racing again," said the Canadian. "Today was the first real indication of everyone’s performance and you can see that the middle of the grid is very close and competitive.

"For Lance it was a productive day and plenty of laps completed as we head into the weekend," noted Szafnauer "We still need to improve our pace over a single lap.

"That’s one of the priorities as we prepare for final practice and qualifying tomorrow," he added. "It’s still not easy to have a clear picture of where we sit in the pecking order just yet."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter