RACE DEBRIEF

    The Aston Martin team’s first ever pre-season test – in the modern era at least – may not quite have been the barnstorming affair some had predicted. But having shown flashes of strong pace across the three days in Bahrain, Lance Stroll said he was feeling confident heading into the team’s inaugural season in their new guise.

    Stroll enjoyed the lion’s share of the squad’s reliability in Bahrain, completing 197 laps to new team mate Sebastian Vettel’s 117 – Vettel’s running hurt by both a gearbox and a turbo issue – while our data analysis revealed that the team’s AMR21 challenger looked to have some promising pace lurking within.

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    Because of that – and despite having ended the final day over seven seconds off the ultimate pace, having opted to focus on race simulations – Stroll said he was happy with his lot ahead of the first race of the season.

    “We collected a lot of data, lots of things to look at, so overall a positive day,” said Stroll at the end of testing. “A lot of long runs, race simulation type stuff.

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    Stroll was on a data-gathering mission on his final day in the AMR21

    “We completed our job list for the day, which is a really good way to end the test after we lost out on a bit of running yesterday. We’ve got plenty of data to go over now to improve our understanding of the car, so that’s a nice position to be in – especially considering there were only three days of testing this year.

    “I’m looking forward to starting the season here in Bahrain. We can go away now and make more improvements before we come back for the race.”

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    Aston Martin Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer, too, was pleased with his team’s efforts in Bahrain, despite Aston Martin completing the second-lowest laps of any team – with Szafnauer saying that his squad were “well placed” for the first race of the year, the Bahrain Grand Prix, on March 26-28.

    “We learned a huge amount despite a few challenges here and there – including a sandstorm on Friday,” said Szafnauer after the test. “Between them, Lance and Sebastian covered a total of 314 laps this week and we’ve now got a vast amount of data to digest before we come back here for the race.

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    Szafnauer said one of the team's main goals had been making their new four-time champion driver Sebastian Vettel feel at home

    “We lost a bit of track time with some technical issues over the weekend, especially for Sebastian [on Saturday], but that’s one of the reasons why we go testing. One of the main tasks this week was to continue helping Sebastian settle into the team and we’ve made a lot of progress already.

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    “Lance was able to conduct our programme as planned [on Sunday morning], gaining some useful data on the long runs, race simulations and shorter runs too. It leaves us well placed to come back here for the race later this month.”