Pre-season testing problems limited Vettel's mileage and opportunities to adapt to the AMR21, hindered his Aston Martin debut.
After encountering double yellow flags on his final Q1 hotlap, the four-time worldchampion qualified 18th in Bahrain, but was demoted to last on the grid after stewards determined he had not respected the second yellow field.
Vettel made a strong start from 20th place, but he began to struggle with tyre wear earlier than his midfield rivals.
He was then given a ten-second penalty for colliding with Alpine's Esteban Ocon, effectively ending his chances of scoring points on his Aston Martin debut, as he finished 15th.
When asked by Motorsport.com how difficult his first race with Aston Martin had been, Vettel acknowledged that he is still getting used to his new car and that his team still has a lot of problems to work out.
Vettel replied, "It's probably not the weekend we were looking for but there's a lot of things that we learned in the race that we need to address,"
To continue, "We will see how quickly we can fix them but I'm not at home in the car. There's a lot of things that are fighting me so that I can't really focus on driving. We need to address them and try and fix them."
Vettel clarified that the problems he's having go beyond acclimating to a new car after five seasons with Ferrari to the Mercedes-powered team.
When asked how far the team is from being 100%, Vettel acknowledged it was a longway, he states, "probably less than half" and he hoped solutions can be found quickly."
He adds, "I would probably say less than half as there's so many things going on still that break the rhythm and make it quite difficult in terms of feeling the car and feeling what I need to do to drive fast, so there's still a lot to do," the German explained. I obviously adapt to how the car wants to be driven but there's obviously a lot of things that add certain inconsistencies that don't help. I hope we can fix a lot of it very quickly."
Despite a shaky start, Vettel said he felt comfortable in his new surroundings and believes Aston Martin can still have a strong season in 2021.
Vettel says, "Yeah very good, I feel really good. Obviously, I'm a bit sorry for such a bad weekend because I know how much preparation goes in before the start of the season. On the other hand, it can only go up from here. As I said, we learned a lot of things so it's a lot of work ahead of us but it is what it is and we have to tackle it step-by-step.It's probably not the start of the season that we wanted but I think the next couple of races will be very good for us to calm things down."