Formula 1 | Updates as a reason? Vettel puzzles over damage at Silverstone

Underbody damage kept Sebastian Vettel in the pits during Friday Formula 1 practice at Silverstone, but the cause is still unclear.

The team pointed out damage to the underbody of his Aston Martin AMR22 to Sebastian Vettel during Formula 1 practice on Friday at Silverstone. Vettel reacted irritated: “I never got off the track.” Nevertheless, he had to stay in the pits for repairs and lost important driving time. It was particularly bitter because hardly anyone drove in the rainy first practice session.

In the end, Vettel finished twelfth out of 20 drivers with a time of 1:30.238 minutes, a good 1.3 seconds behind the leader and around three tenths behind his teammate Lance Stroll. But it is not so much these distances that concern Vettel, but the underbody damage.

“We still have to look at that,” says Vettel. “It’s normal for a little bit to break now and then, but I don’t think it’s anything we can’t get a handle on.”

Vettel suspects it may have been a track-specific problem. The German rules out the updates from Aston Martin as a trigger: “It has more to do with the track, the higher speeds, the faster corners. And there were other parts lying around on the road, so I guess other drivers had them similar difficulties.”

In fact: At the very end of the second free practice session, Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes W13 crashed so hard over the curbs in Copse that part of the rear brake lining blew off. And Daniel Ricciardo radioed to the same place after a trip that the team should check the underbody of his McLaren MCL36 for damage.

Vettel: What the problem means for the remainder of the weekend

Either way: Vettel does not believe in a handicap for the remainder of the weekend: “That [Problem] cost us some time, but it should be fine for Saturday.”

The question remains where Aston Martin will stand then. Again close to the bottom of the top 10 like in Friday practice with Stroll and close behind with Vettel? The latter does not want to commit himself, especially since he was not able to complete a full day of training. “On the other hand, that’s how it was for everyone, I think.” Overall, his Friday was “okay”.

“Of course it was difficult to find the rhythm,” says Vettel. “At the end I was outside again, then everyone was running with a lot of fuel. So yes, not the normal Friday, but I think we have a bit of time now and we should be better off on Saturday. [Am Freitag] no one really did many laps.”

That’s why he was “not yet” prepared for the decisive sessions, qualifying and the race. Reason: “We didn’t do everything we normally do, also because of the [verregneten] first training.”

Vettel with five laps on Intermediates

Vettel was one of only ten drivers to set a lap time, but with 1:59.168 minutes on intermediates he was more than 16 seconds behind the best time of Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo C42. Vettel wasn’t aiming for good times during his five laps on a wet track.

He would have preferred dry conditions to be able to better assess the recent new parts on the Aston Martin AMR22, said the four-time world champion. He therefore “doesn’t yet have a real feeling” about how the updates will work.

“Silverstone is of course a completely different track than the last tracks, so it would have been nicer to have a few more laps,” explains Vettel. “Now, as I said, we’ll take our time and see what the weather will do on Saturday.”

More rain announced at Silverstone

The current weather forecast envisages more rain, but Vettel says it “doesn’t matter” what comes from above. “But I think for the car or for getting to know the new parts in a sense, dry conditions would probably be better. But in the end [ist die] Main thing, [das Wetter ist] constant.”

“It’s going to be very difficult” with “such a mishmash,” says Vettel, “half way wet, half way dry.” Formula 1 had kept that in the pits for a long time in the first free practice session. “It’s a shame because we don’t drive, also for the people [auf den Tribünen und vor dem Fernseher]”Vettel says.

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