New rear wing 'not a massive step in performance' - Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel was pleased to finish Friday's practice sessions in Hungary in the top ten, but insisted that it hadn't been down to any kind of huge boost down to Aston Martin's innovative new rear wing design.

Having been the centre of attention yesterday with his announcement that he was retiring from Formula 1 at the end of the current season, Vettel was once again the focus of attention in the paddock today with the eye-catching latest upgrade to the AMR22.

The team appears to have found a grey area in the FIA's 2022 aero regulations which has allowed them to come up with a radical new rear wing, one that has certainly caught the attention of their rivals on pit lane.

But Vettel was downplaying the impact of the new wing after the end of today's practice sessions.

"On the face of it, our pace today looked quite good," he acknowledged. "Our long runs were quite competitive, and I think we did a solid job as a team. But the car is still quite difficult to drive

“Obviously, there’s a new rear wing, that's not a secret. [But] it's not a massive step in performance," he insisted. "I think it's doing what it was supposed to, so you don't see a big, big jump for us.

"Overall it's good to see that the team is trying to think of things and solutions, but you always wish that they were having more of an impact."

Asked if he felt the other teams would file a protest over the new design, Vettel replied with a succinct: "No."

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR22. 29.07.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, Practice

As for why Vettel looked so much faster today, the driver replied: “I think we probably were a bit more aggressive than maybe other Fridays.

“We didn’t have any problems, we were able to I think get a good feel of the car," he explained. “It’s still a bit disconnected here and there, and some stuff to do.

“Obviously we'll try to make the car faster. I think we can. Knowing that Sunday's dry, most likely it's probably the main [objective]," he said. "This is a track where you try to have and put all the downforce on the car that you can."

But Vettel was already looking ahead to what will happen on Saturday, if the forecast storms and heavy rain impact final practice and qualifying.

"[We will] also be preparing for tomorrow as much as we can, knowing that there is rain coming," he said. "If it's wet, then I think we really need to up our game compared to the last two times we had wet qualifying sessions.

"The classical rain set-up doesn't exist anymore," he pointed out. "Those have been gone for a long, long, long time. I probably witnessed just the end of it when I joined a long time ago.

"We'll see how wet it is going to be," he continued. "Obviously it would be a shame if it was to be that wet that we can't run, and people on the grandstand are having a not so nice day!

"I love driving this circuit and I really hope that the weather does not stop us putting on a show for the fans tomorrow," he added. "Fingers crossed.

"So a bit of homework and preparation to do," he added. "But for now I think it's been a good start to the weekend."

While Vettel was seventh quickest in FP2, his team mate Lance Stroll was down in 14th when the chequered flag called time.

“It is positive that we are still bringing updates to the car," he said of his own experience with the latest upgrades to the car. "we will look at the data tonight to see what impact they are having.

"Today was a good day," he added. "In the dry we look to be right in the mix in the midfield, but it is very close there, with only a couple of tenths separating much of the pack.

"The forecast for the rest of the weekend is uncertain, so it's difficult to predict where anyone will be in qualifying tomorrow - or in Sunday’s race.”

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