Sebastian Vettel: One crash, two penalties and five penalty points – a tricky Aston Martin debut in Bahrain

Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin debut went from bad to worse at the Bahrain GP as the four-time world champion followed up a pre-race grid penalty with an in-race time penalty on his way to a collision-affected 15th place.

Vettel, who has joined the returning F1 team for 2021 after being axed by Ferrari, was already in for a hard Sunday after his 18th in qualifying became 20th on the grid thanks to a penalty for ignoring yellow flags in the shootout. And despite a strong start, his race didn’t bring much fortune.

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The German was battling outside the points when he clattered into the back Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, which damaged his car and earned him a 10-second time penalty. He finished 15th and behind Williams’ George Russell.

Vettel suggested Ocon changed his line under braking but the stewards disagreed, with their verdict determining “that Car 5 was wholly to blame for the contact at Turn 1.”

Vettel was also handed five points on his superlicence for the two separate incidents. He got three for the qualifying penalty, and two for the Ocon clash.

F1 drivers receive an automatic one-race suspension if they accrue 12 points over a 12-month period – although Vettel did have an unblemished record before Sunday.

“I was trying to cut back to the left but Esteban was moving left as well and then when I was right behind him I locked the fronts and hit him straight on,” Vettel told Sky F1 about his Ocon crash. “So obviously that was not great for both of our races.”

Describing his race as “tricky”, Vettel added: “We tried the one-stop, we had to try something different.

“Initially it looked like it wasn’t that bad but towards the end I was struggling quite a lot with tyres so I don’t think I could have realistically scored points today.”

Team-mate Lance Stroll scored one point in 10th to kick-off Aston Martin’s season – their first in F1 in over 60 years.

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