Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel has been handed a R425 000 fine after he left a drivers’ briefing at the Austrian Grand Prix without permission. Photo: Twitter @AstonMartinF1

‘Late to school’: Covid-free Sebastian Vettel keen to start F1 season at last

Sebastian Vettel said it felt like “arriving late to school” as he starts his season at the Australian GP after missing the opening two races.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel has been handed a R425 000 fine after he left a drivers’ briefing at the Austrian Grand Prix without permission. Photo: Twitter @AstonMartinF1

Sebastian Vettel said on Wednesday it felt like “arriving late to school” as he starts his season at the Australian Grand Prix this week after missing the opening two races.

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Germany’s four-time world champion was ruled out of the Bahrain and Saudi Arabia grands prix last month with coronavirus.

“After testing positive and missing the first two races, it feels a bit like arriving late to school so I’m really keen to get going again,” said Vettel, who has triumphed three times in Melbourne.

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F1’s youngest world champion is now, at 34, in his 15th full season. He first won at Albert Park in 2011 driving a Red Bull, then did so in 2017 and 2018 when at Ferrari.

He will have plenty of catching up to do in terms of learning about his Aston Martin car after limited pre-season testing and with most of his rivals having two races under their belts.

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“For me, after nearly a month out of the car, it will be important to learn throughout the practice sessions and I hope we can take some steps forward in what is usually an exciting and unpredictable race,” said Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin have struggled to date

His replacement while he was out with Covid, reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg, finished 17th and last in Bahrain and then 12th in Saudi Arabia.

Vettel’s team-mate Lance Stroll has also struggled to leave the team, along with Williams, as the only ones without a point so far this season.

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By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse