Vettel handed grid penalty after gearbox change

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Sebastian Vettel has been handed a five place grid penalty for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix after Red Bull changed the gearbox on his car following qualifying.

During the final part of qualifying today, the defending world champion was forced to stop his car out on track because of a problem which was later diagnosed to be concerning his gearbox. As a result, he failed to set a time during Q3, and was therefore classified in 10th place.

However, he will now start tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix from 15th after the team decided to make the change on his car.

The FIA regulations state that any driver whose car undergoes a gearbox change across the course of a race weekend is to be demoted five places on the grid.

“I left the garage for Q3 and lost drive in second gear; I still had third gear and above so we thought we could do the lap with that, but by turn 1 I had lost all the other gears, so we couldn’t continue,” Vettel explained. “I was getting more in to the rhythm with each lap after missing yesterday’s sessions. It was quite close between the cars after the Mercedes and I think I could have had a go for P3 today, but we didn’t get that far. I’m of course quite disappointed.”

It has been a difficult weekend for the team, with Vettel also suffering an electrical problem during FP1 on Friday that meant he could complete just four laps all day.

From P15, he faces an uphill struggle to make the podium, but Sebastian Vettel is a four-time champion of the world for a reason; don’t write him off just yet.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.