Sebastian Vettel is braced for “a steep learning curve” during the early rounds of the 2021 Formula 1 season as he continues to get up to speed at Aston Martin.

Following his move from Ferrari, the four-time world champion saw his running in Bahrain’s three-day pre-season test restricted due to a number of reliability issues, including a gearbox problem that effectively cost him his entire morning in the car on the second day.

Altogether Vettel managed covered just 117 laps in total, the fewest managed by any driver across the three days and less than half what AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly racked up.

The German feels he is around “100 laps” short of where he would ideally like to have been heading into this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, and accepts his lack of mileage will make the opening races difficult.

“At this stage every lap is extremely important to me to understand the car, understand how the car wants to be driven, to figure out the differences of my past and my future so to say,” Vettel said.

“I think there’s still a lot that I can improve, and there’s still a lot that we can improve. We have to learn obviously a great deal about the car still when it comes to set up and so on. But I think everyone is in the same position – with only three days of running it’s impossibly to get everything in.

“I think for us the first couple of races, especially for me, will be a steep learning curve, but we’ll take it from there.”

A shortened winter break and cutback testing programme, coupled with the current COVID-19 travel restrictions in the UK, has provided Vettel with less time than usual to get himself fully acclimatised with his new team.

When asked which areas specifically he is hoping to improve in time for the first race, Vettel replied: “Well it’s just getting to know the people, that’s one thing. Just to understand what they mean.

“[There are] lots of different things to talk about the car and then about the car, there’s the steering that feels different because it’s a different unit.

“Obviously every F1 car has a power steering but every power steering is set up slightly differently so it gives you a different impression because ultimately when you drive you have got the wheel in your hands and that’s the feedback you get - so that’s one.

“The car has a different philosophy. It's a different team, it’s a different car, it drives a bit differently, it wants to be driven differently, it’s a different power unit, same thing here. Without going into the details because I don’t think it’s fair to compare in public but naturally these things are different and take a bit of getting used to.

“It’s a different environment inside the car as well, just in terms of comfort. The pedals are feeling a bit different, the seat is a little bit different. It’s just small stuff, it’s the amount of all those small things put together.”