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.