Sebastian Vettel cannot wait to finally get his Formula One season started, having missed the opening two races after testing positive for Covid-19.
The Aston Martin driver had to watch from home as Nico Hulkenberg stepped into his place for the season-opener in Bahrain and the subsequent Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Hulkenberg took a 17th place finish in the first race, before rising up to twelfth in Jeddah, meaning Vettel returns to the hot seat with his team yet to get a point on the board.
As he gears up to take on the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne at the Australian Grand Prix, Vettel admits he’s full of excitement which evokes memories of his younger years.
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“After testing positive and missing the first two races, it feels a bit like arriving late to school, so I’m really keen to get going again”, he said.
Vettel returns to familiar territory, racing on a track full of happy memories having won the race three times in the past. One more victory will see him join Lex Davison and Michael Schumacher as the only drivers to have taken top spot on the podium on three occasions in Australia.
However, it is a podium that has been lonely for two years with the race removed from the F1 calendar due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Vettel is determined for yet more success on his return down under, saying, “starting my season in Australia is something I’ve done before, of course, and it’s also great that Formula One is returning after a difficult couple of years.”
“For me, after nearly a month out of the car, it will be important to learn throughout the practice sessions, and I hope we can take some steps forward in what is usually an exciting and unpredictable race”, he said.
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Aston Martin are one of only two teams yet to register a single point this season, with Williams also struggling in the constructor standings, making the next race in Melbourne vital to getting their season up-and-running.
Vettel’s team mate, Lance Stroll is feeling confident, saying “It’s fantastic to be able to return to Australia. Melbourne is such a great sporting city, and the Albert Park track is always fun to drive.”
Since hosting its last F1 race in 2019, the track at Albert Park has been reconfigured, with corners widened or removed in a bid to improve racing and create more natural overtaking opportunities.
Stroll cannot wait to take on the challenge, saying “I’m looking forward to sampling the revised layout and the resurfaced track, which will hopefully improve overtaking – especially into Turn 13, which has been tightened. In fact, it will be very interesting to see how these new ground effect cars perform here, as they should also hopefully make racing closer and more exciting.”
Ferrari lead the way after the first two races, with Charles Leclerc on top of the drivers standings, with his team mate Carlos Sainz just behind. Defending champion Max Verstappen took victory last time out in Saudi Arabia.
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