Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel was forced to miss the start of the season due to a positive COVID-19 test.

He has now recovered from his illness and is expected to be seen behind the AMR22 in the upcoming Australian Grand Prix.

Nico Hulkenberg, who had deputised for Vettel in these two races, believes that while the German will be happy to return to the sport, he will find himself unable to compete with other drivers.

Vettel looked like he was in decent form during pre-season testing. Hulkenberg put in a good account for himself while fulfilling his duties as the team’s reserve driver. He wasn’t able to finish in the points in either of the two races though.

Worryingly for Aston Martin, the team finds itself locked in last position along with the likes of Williams with 0 points.

There have even been suggestions that Vettel made more of his illness than was the case since he lacks the motivation to come back to Aston Martin.

Hulkenberg spoke about the return of Vettel.

“He will start behind because of missing the first two races, that’s clear,” Hulkenberg said.

“But he’s very talented, I think he can definitely make up for it. 

“He just has a little work to do, and that means he has to dig a little deeper.”

Vettel is one of the most respected drivers in F1 currently. Although he has four world championships to his name, they all came at Red Bull.

Vettel can still challenge for podiums: Marko

Sebastian Vettel. Credit: astonmartinracing.com

He was unable to replicate this form at Ferrari and that has somewhat taken the sheen off his glossy career.

Vettel was finally forced out of Ferrari after 6 trophy-less seasons with the team. He joined Aston Martin in 2021 and delivered a mixed bag in his debut season for the new team.

While he has managed only one podium at Aston Martin since then, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko believes that he still has plenty more to offer the sport.

Equipped with the right car, Marko believes Vettel can still challenge for podiums.

“You saw that in Baku, and he was also very quick in Monte Carlo,” Marko said.

“But where Aston Martin is at the moment, I don’t think the motivation will be too great.”

Do you think Vettel will taste success this season? Let us know in the comments.

Read more: Mercedes offers Hamilton title boost with fresh upgrade ahead of Australian Grand Prix

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