Last season was a nightmare for Sebastian Vettel, but the start of 2021 was a disappointment as well. Countryman Rosberg commented on the performance of the 4-time champion, saying that it is atypical for a driver of Vettel’s caliber.
Sebastian Vettel suffered his worst full-time season in Formula 1 last year, as he only finished 13th in the championship. The 2020 season overall was a low for the 4-time world champion from Heppenheim, as he struggled a lot and could not keep up with other midfield cars. With his switch to the Aston Martin squad for this year’s F1 season, the 33-year-old hoped for a fresh change and better performances from the first race onwards.
But it proved to be different as the new Aston Martin AMR21 automobile, according to team boss Otmar Szafnauer, seems to suffer from the new regulation changes for 2021. And so did Sebastian Vettel when he even failed to reach Q2 in qualifying for the season-opener at Bahrain and got even more frustration as he additionally suffered a 5-place grid penalty for his debut race in British Racing green. The race didn’t bring change and the German struggled in the back of the midfield. He was also causing an unnecessary collision with Alpine driver Esteban Ocon and in the end, finished in P15 only.
That a driver of Sebastian Vettel’s caliber transfers a low from one season to the opening of another is “atypical” according to another German world champion: Nico Rosberg. Vettel’s debut weekend for Aston Martin was one to forget, the transfer of a low remains something weird for 2016’s world champion Rosberg. In a talk at the German Sky F1 channel, he found very direct words for his countryman’s performance.
“We saw another mistake, that’s just atypical for such a four-time world champion,” he puzzled. Rosberg is also surprised by Vettel’s statements that he is not yet comfortable in the car. Still, he defended his former rival and told Sky F1, that “(…) it’s a new team [with Aston Martin] and it needs a little time.”
But the experienced former F1 driver wishes his countryman that he will get out of his low phase quickly and can leave negative mentalities. Rosberg described this step as something “(…) very, very important.” The German-Finnish racer though is sure that the long-term Red Bull and Ferrari driver is able to do this step, explaining that “Sebastian [Vettel] has a huge talent and is a four-time world champion. He will be able to do it.”
To the other German driver who celebrated a debut at the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix, Rosberg showed satisfaction and praised the young Mick Schumacher. About the 2020 Formula 2 champion and one of three rookies on the F1 grid, the world champion from 2016 evaluated that “It’s fun to watch him. He does it quite well.”
The son of Nico Rosberg’s teammate from 2010 to 2012, Michael Schumacher, finished in P16 on his debut, driving a flawless race except for a spin in the opening laps. Yet he managed to avoid a collision with the barriers of the Bahrain International Circuit compared to his Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin, who he could keep control over for the majority of the track time.
Rosberg continued about Mick Schumacher: “In Formula 1, it is definitely the case that you always have to beat your teammate first. That is the most important thing in order to progress. Of course he made a good debut there,” he praised. Undoubtedly the son of 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher deserved a Formula 1 cockpit following good results in Formula 3 and Formula 2 but Rosberg also warns of too early pressure for the 22-year-old.
“It is important that we give him time because Formula 1 is logically the premier class. You can’t get in and dominate at once. You have to give him time, and he has it now so that he learns everything. You have to work your way through. I think he will have a good future ahead of him.”
If Sebastian Vettel has this good future as well and can get out of the low phase is unclear, but yet there are 22 races ahead of both, Mick Schumacher and the 4-time world champion. 22 races in which everything can occur.