Sebastian Vettel has lamented a small failure on his Red Bull car during first practice that forced him to sit out of the second session on Friday in Spain.
The defending Formula 1 world champion completed just four laps during practice today after an electrical problem on his new chassis curtailed his running. The Red Bull team opted not to run his car during the second session so they could focus on fixing the problem.
For Vettel, the most frustrating part of the situation was that such a small problem had severe consequences.
“We had a simple failure in one of the looms this morning, which caused a short and meant the car stopped,” he explained. “We had to change the chassis loom, which is a big job so I wasn’t able to go out this afternoon.
“It’s a small failure, but a big consequence. There was nothing new on that part of the car, it was something new that happened in that area.”
Despite this setback, Vettel chose to look on the bright side, given that the problem could have occurred during qualifying or the race.
“Luckily it happened today, but unfortunately we lost the chance to prepare for Sunday with two cars, so I have to rely on what Daniel [Ricciardo] did today and get into the rhythm straight away tomorrow.”
With just four laps under his belt heading into the rest of the weekend, Vettel certainly faces an uphill struggle to reach the podium in Spain. However, Red Bull’s remarkable rate of development over the last few years suggests that the team is by no means out of the title race just yet.
Vettel should be ready to take part in the final practice session tomorrow morning ahead of qualifying in the afternoon.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.