Teammate Tale of the Tape - Vettel vs Stroll at Aston Martin
A new era at Silverstone as British racing green returns to Formula 1 in the form of Aston Martin, but how do their drivers stack up against each other?
One of the most anticipated F1 rebrands is almost ready to be unveiled to the world as we're a little over a month away from Aston Martin F1 debuting their car and livery. The buzz surrounding the rebranded team formerly known as Racing Point is quite evident all over social media and fans especially can't wait to see Aston Martin back on the Formula 1 grid. Not only is their a ton of excitement over the return of an iconic brand to F1, it is also the addition of a former world champion to the Silverstone squad that makes Aston Martin's 2021 driver lineup one of the most interesting. Sebastian Vettel will partner Canadian Lance Stroll for 2021 after spending six years with Ferrari. Vettel and Stroll have come a long way since 2017 when they were introduced to each other in one of the most bizarre post race incidents we've ever seen. Now here we are, some four years later and the two are teammates! In this video, we're going to be breaking down the 'tale of the tape' between the two drivers and how they stack up against each other. We'll then look at each driver individually and then look ahead to what we can expect from the two heading into the 2021 season.
Tale of The Tape - Vettel vs Stroll
The dynamic at Aston Martin with these two drivers is one that is very intriguing and curious to say the least. On the one hand you have a young driver who is entering his fifth season of Formula 1 on the back of a career year and a lot of momentum. And then on the other side of the garage, you have one of the most successful F1 drivers ever who is coming off of his worst season to date in the sport. So, let's look at how the two drivers matchup against each other.
Sebastian Vettel is quite used to having youthful teammates the last couple of years so being ten years the elder to Lance Stroll won't be something out of the ordinary. Of course one of the biggest differences between the two drivers is the level of experience in Formula 1. Vettel has done 179 more races than Stroll and of course has achieved far greater success than the young Canadian. I wanted to highlight the two stats at the bottom that will be key for their head to head in 2021. Lance Stroll has struggled in the last few seasons when it comes to his one lap pace, although a lot of that was down to insufficient machinery, he's only out-qualified his teammate 24% of the time in his F1 career. Stroll made significant qualifying improvements in 2020 with a much better car under him so he'll need to continue that run of form and improve it even more. When it comes down to race craft, the two Aston Martin drivers matchup much closer. Vettel has out-raced his teammates 64% of the time in his career vs Stroll's 39%. Stroll has shown in his young F1 career that his race pace is his strong suit which would a good grid start all the more important in 2021. Vettel was regularly out-paced by Leclerc in 2020 both in qualifying and the race due to his unhappiness with the SF1000. What will be interesting to see is whether the 'Green Mercedes' will suit Vettel's driving style and give him some confidence at the rear end of the car. It's a great dynamic of youthful enthusiasm vs experienced success at a 'new' team with high hopes of challenging at the front. Let's take a look at each driver individually and what they bring to this Aston Martin team.
Courtesy - Aston Martin F1
Coming off of his best season of Formula 1, Stroll has a lot of optimism and confidence heading into 2021. After starting his career off in a struggling Williams team, Stroll has a brilliant opportunity to really showcase his talent at Aston Martin. "Whenever I'm at the factory, you can feel the buzz and energy, Stroll said, we're ready for this. There's so much hunger in the team and I just can't wait to get the season started." Stroll was able to bag two of his three career podiums in 2020 and capped off a great season with a stunning pole in the wet at Turkey. His championship result of 11th was a career high but when you look at his average start and finish positions, those will definitely need to come up in this Aston Martin era. Granted those numbers are largely due to his stints at Williams, Aston Martin is aiming to battle for third and maybe even more in the championship so they're going to need both drivers there. Stroll's 2020 season was very solid but it could have been even better considering the success his teammate Sergio Perez had. Some unfortunate crashes and illnesses led him to miss out on more points, but if the Aston Martin car will be as strong as Racing Point's last year, they'll be no excuses anymore for the young Canadian. Lance Stroll has earned his spot in F1 and has shown he is not just a 'pay driver'. With that said, he's also entering his fifth season in the sport so we can't really consider him a young driver per say. He's got almost 100 Grand Prix's worth of experience and now has a great team and car underneath him. The pressure will be on to deliver consistent results the team can rely on. Stroll is quick but consistency has been his issue in his F1 career.
Courtesy - Aston Martin F1
There was a time in the 2020 season that we thought Sebastian Vettel was done with Formula 1. Ferrari no longer needed his services and Vettel had to come to terms with the fact that his dreams of championship glory in Ferrari red were done. Talks of retirement back in May seemed like the likely path and as the season got started and Ferrari were brutally slow, it looked almost like a certainty. But then in the summer of 2020, things changed and a wise old business man by the name of Lawrence Stroll pulled off a masterstroke and signed Vettel to the newly minted Aston Martin. Funny how things work out in F1 as we all felt horrible for Perez at the time but now he's got a shot at top team like Red Bull. Looking at Vettel's career resume, it speaks for itself. He brings four world championships to Aston Martin along with 53 race victories and 57 poles. He's consistently put his car in the top six throughout his career and he'll be looking to do the same at his new team. So what can we expect from Vettel in 2021? As bad as his last season was, personally I feel that Vettel's struggles were a little bit overblown. We don't have to go back very far to remember Vettel scoring race victories and pole positions for Ferrari so he certainly hasn't forgotten how to drive. Let's think back to the last time Vettel switched teams in 2015. After a dismal final year at Red Bull, Vettel rejuvenated himself and came back very strong in 2015 and the years to follow. Starting fresh at Aston Martin will be great for Vettel and I think the team environment surrounding him will be a lot better. The Silverstone factory has had some great drivers in the teams long history but never someone with the pedigree of Sebastian Vettel. Although his struggles of the last few seasons, let us not forget that Sebastian Vettel is the third most winningest driver in Formula 1 history and he's got a point to prove in 2021.
What Can we Expect From Aston Martin in 2021?
Courtesy - Aston Martin F1
Although the big rule changes have been postponed to 2022, there are still significant changes coming to the cars in 2021. We covered this in our '4 Things to Watch For in the 2021 Season' video that you can't find in the description below for more detail. With a good chunk of the floor being cut and overall downforce reduced, how will that effect a team like Aston Martin? Mercedes have always had a long wheel base design which a team like Racing Point now Aston Martin have followed so maybe it will be easier for them to adapt. Or will a trimming of downforce make the car even harder to drive which might not suit Vettel's driving style? These are all interesting questions that we won't have answered until at least winter testing begins in March. Putting that aside, I'm very much looking forward to Aston Martin on the grid and their driver lineup. I think we can expect a new and improved Vettel that will gather the team around his championship pedigree and forge ahead towards bigger and better things. Lance Stroll will be able to learn a lot from Vettel just like he did with Sergio Perez and who knows, he might even be able to get the best out of Vettel throughout the season. If Aston Martin's form continues from 2020, they very well could be on the podium again multiple times and possibly even on the top step more than once. Stroll has always worked well with his fellow teammates so I don't see him and Vettel coming together too much on track. There certainly is a lot of hype around Aston Martin and I can't wait to see what they can deliver in 2021.