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Sebastian Vettel has made the funny remark that he feels like he’s “arriving late to school” as he prepares for his first race of the 2022 season.
The four-time world champion was in the cockpit of the Aston Martin AMR22 for pre-season testing but contracted COVID-19 shortly after, wiping him from the first two races of the season.
Aston Martin reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg took his seat for the grands prix in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, pairing up with Lance Stroll.
But Vettel is ready to return as the calendar reaches the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit, where he’s produced some special performances.
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“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,” Vettel said.
“Starting my season in Australia is something I’ve done before, of course, and it’s also great that Formula 1 is returning after a difficult couple of years.
“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.”
Vettel, world champion over four consecutive years between 2010 and 2013, has registered three of his 53 career wins in Melbourne.
His first Melbourne Grand Prix win came with Red Bull in 2011, and his two most recent at Ferrari in 2017 and 2018.
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Vettel’s incumbent teammate says it’s “fantastic” to be back in Melbourne, especially following an overhaul of the track that’s expected to make the race faster and lead to more overtaking.
“Melbourne is such a great sporting city, and the Albert Park track is always fun to drive,” Stroll said.
“I’m looking forward to sampling the revised layout and the resurfaced track, which will hopefully improve overtaking – especially into turn 13.
“… in fact, it will be very interesting to see how these new ground-effect cars perform here, as they should also hopefully make racing closer and more exciting.”
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