Aston Martin miss out on points after Stroll-Vettel battle and late Safety Car drama in Abu Dhabi
Neither Sebastian Vettel nor team mate Lance Stroll managed to score points in their final race of 2021, after battling each other and then losing out in the final-lap Safety Car restart.
Vettel started 11th but soon found himself taking on Stroll in the opening stages of the race, passing his Canadian team mate down the long straight down to Turn 6 (below). The four-time champion could only make it to P11, however, and said he needed to qualify higher to capitalise on the five DNFs at Yas Marina.
“I think the pace was actually good,” he said, “but we started too far back and lost too much time with the Alfa [of Antonio Giovinazzi], which we know is difficult to pass for us, but once we cleared that the pace was good – but we were too far away and couldn’t do anything.
“The Safety Car situation at the end may have been unprecedented and we were just unable to end the season with points and finished P11,” he added.
Vettel was one of the five drivers allowed to pass the Safety Car late on but team mate Stroll was not. He called it a “frustrating” decision that left him P13 in his 100th Grand Prix – but looked forward to 2022 after a transitional season into F1’s new era for Aston Martin.
“It was a tricky race today and we were not able to benefit from the late Safety Car because we were not waved through to overtake, which was frustrating, and I did not understand,” said Stroll.
“It was a late chance to make up some places and potentially aim for points after we made the decision to pit again. P13 is not how we wanted to end the season and my 100th Grand Prix, but we have learned a lot this year that will put us in good stead for 2022. It has been great to be a part of Aston Martin’s first year back in Formula 1, and I am sure there is a bright future ahead,” concluded Stroll.
Aston Martin ended the season seventh, on 77 points, having failed to score in the last two Grands Prix of 2021.