Sebastian Vettel’s weekend in Sochi didn’t start off particularly strong anyway with both he and Scuderia Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen changing their internal combustion engines.
It got worse once Vettel stopped on course during this morning’s second free practice, which brought out a virtual safety car period.
Vettel’s reported electronics issues are now worse than they appeared.
The FIA has confirmed Vettel’s team will change the gearbox on his car, and as such, that will saddle the four-time World Champion with a five-spot grid penalty.
It was later diagnosed, per multiple reporters in Sochi, that Vettel’s damage was caused from his contact with teammate Kimi Raikkonen in Shanghai.
Best case would mean Vettel would start sixth for Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix if he captured the pole position, but if he was to qualify off the front row, it will more likely mean he’d start eighth or worse.
“Looks like we had an electric problem, but I am sure we can fix it,” Vettel said. “Still, it is a shame, because now we are lacking some laps, especially in the long runs on race trims, which would have allowed us to see how competitive we are.
“But Kimi did the homework for the team, so it is not too bad. Also, here in Russia we know roughly what to expect. I think we can still learn a lot from what other people did. In qualifying trim we still have some stuff to improve.
“I think the car was getting better though. The track was quite dirty in the morning and then during the day it came more towards us. I felt happier as the day continued, it’s true that for the race we are lacking a bit of information, but we will see tomorrow morning, when we have another practice session.”
Vettel was second in this morning’s FP2 before stopping on course out of the final turn, which caused an early end to his session.