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More frustration for Vettel in Spain

2014-05-10 17:18

SPANISH GP WOES: Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel helps put his car on a truck after he lost control during the first practice session for the 2014 Spanish GP. His car woes persisted throughout qualifying. Image: AP/Manu Fernandez

BARCELONA, Spain - Sebastian Vettel tried to play down his latest frustration in a season in which  nothing seems to be going right for the four-times Formula 1 Drivers' champion.

A mere four laps in 180 minutes of Friday (May 9) practice session and 10th in the third were topped in qualifying on Saturday (May 10) when Vettel had to retire his Red Bull with a gearbox problem early in the final session, making him start in 10th on Sunday (May 11).


Vettel will line up 15th on the grid after stopping on track in the final phase of the session with gearbox problems. Although he qualified 10th, Red Bull confirmed he would have a gearbox change for the race with a drop of five positions.

A problem with the wiring loom limited his track time to four laps in Friday practice and the he pulled over in the final phase of qualifying with gearbox problems that left him 10th on the provisional grid.

Gearboxes must last six successive races and any unscheduled change incurs a five place penalty.

Vettel said: "I left the pits and...I lost drive in second gear. I went to third, decided to keep going because its possible to do a lap without second gear around here but by turn one I got stuck in fifth gear and couldn't go up or down"

Vettel has switched to a different chassis for the start of the European season but his luck has only taken a turn for the worse.


Vettel said: "It is bad but there is nothing you can do, you have to take it as it comes. Things are not going well, there are little problems, little mistakes. I'm convinced we will overcome it. Everybody (in the team) is highly motivated,"

One third-place in Malaysia  is the best result for the man who ruled the past four seasons but is now struggling with his equipment after major rule changes and facing a reliability problem which in the past mainly happened to his former team mate Mark Webber.

Vettel ranks fifth, 66 points behind leader Nico Rosberg, who together with the pole-starter Lewis Hamilton is commanding the season for Mercedes, which seems poised for a fourth consecutive 102 finish on Sunday.

Red Bull will face a hard time playing catch-up and there is more bad news for Vettel as he has now been out-qualified by his new partner Daniel Ricciardo 4-1 and only ahead of him in the points because Ricciardo was disqualified from second in the season-opener in Australia. 


Vettel has already been told twice via team radio to let Ricciardo pass during a race as the young Australian appears to deal in a better way with the revamped car. The May 10 mishap was even more frustrating because more appeared possible after Vettel was third in the first qualifying round and fifth in the second.

Vettel said: "There was certainly more possible than 10th but there is nothing you can do as a driver. It is not in your hands."

However, even a better placing would have seen Vettel far behind the Mercedes duo, with Ricciardo's deficit of a second as a reference.

Ricciardo said: "We are best-of-the-rest again. We're a second off - I expected a closer gap than that. We've made improvements this weekend but so has Mercedes."

2014 Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya:

Qualifying times
Third practice
Second practice
First practice

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Spanish F1 GP weekend. 

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