Four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel endured a difficult first qualifying session as an Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team driver for Sunday’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix at the Sakhir circuit where he will start the race from 18th place after being caught out by a late yellow flag in Q1.

Speaking after setting a 01.32.056s Vettel said:

“I think it is fair to say the result today is disappointing and not what we wanted. My first lap in Q1 had quite a bit of margin for improvement, but on my second run there were two yellow flags, which made it impossible to progress to Q2. There was a yellow flag at turn one and one later in the lap too. I was just unlucky with my position on the track. On a positive note, the car felt better in qualifying and all the work we have done since testing is taking us in a good direction, so we have the potential to be faster. Even though we are not starting where we want to be, it is tomorrow that counts. Our job is to maximise all the opportunities and see what happens.”

Lance Stroll in the second Aston Martin fared slightly better than Vettel as he will start the race from tenth place following a time of 01.30.601s and speaking following the action the Canadian commented saying:

“It was a good fight out there today and it is clear that the midfield has become even closer this year because a lost tenth or two will put you in Q2. The AMR21 felt good, but we have got plenty of work ahead to keep improving and to try and push back towards the top end of Q3. I am really excited to get going for tomorrow’s race because the first race is always a little bit unpredictable and exciting. We are starting inside the top 10 and with a good start, strong tyre management and well executed strategy, we can target some good points tomorrow. We just need to go away tonight, get our heads down, and keep on improving our understanding of the car.”

Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal commented saying:

“Lance performed well and did a good job to make it into Q3 today, while Sebastian’s result was out of his hands to a large extent. In Q3, our tyre strategy meant Lance was only able to run once, but 10th on the grid leaves him well placed for tomorrow and he will be in the hunt for points. Sebastian was unfortunate to come across two yellow flags on his final push lap, which ultimately cost him a place in Q2. Overtaking is possible here so we will try our best to use strategy to help Sebastian fight his way through the field tomorrow.”

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