Following a difficult start to life at Aston Martin, four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel has found his feet at the team over the last few months.
He scored a fantastic 2nd place in a wild Azerbaijan Grand Prix back in June and repeated the feat in a crazy race at Hungary, before getting disqualified as his car couldn’t provide enough fuel after the post-race checks.
Despite that DSQ, he leads teammate Lance Stroll by 16 points in the standings ahead of the final three races in 2021. The German also leads the qualifying head-to-head 12-7.
However, Aston Martin team boss Otmar Szafnauer said his drivers are quite evenly matched when speaking to MotorLat and other select media during the Sao Paulo GP weekend.
''Lance and Seb are pretty much on par when it comes to performance,'' he said.
''It just seems like that some things have gone Seb’s way. Last race [Mexico] for example, Lance started last and starting last... it’s difficult.''
Szafnauer believes looking at the race pace between his drivers when they’re in clear air is important as they cannot maximise their full potential when stuck behind other cars and can give a distorted picture.
''When I look at lap times in free in the races, they are pretty close,'' he said.
''Even in this sprint race, I look at their lap times and sometimes there is a disparity because of where you are running. If you are stuck behind somebody, you are going to do the lap time of the person in front of you.
''If you look at lap time in free air, which I often do, they’re pretty close.''
Szafanuer also thinks Vettel’s extra experience and getting comfortable in the team has played a role in his stronger performances as the season has progressed.
''I think it’s a bit of circumstance and I think maybe that circumstance comes from [Sebastian Vettel] being more comfortable in the team, having that experience that you have, being a four-time World Champion if you know what I mean.
''It’s the old adage... it was a South African golfer Gary Player [who said]: the harder I work, the luckier I get. And sometimes the more experience I have, the luckier I get.''