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Vettel’s nightmare season goes from bad to worse

Sebastian Vettel retires from the Austrian Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel retires from the Austrian Grand Prix

Quadruple Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel retired from Red Bull’s home Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday in what was the German’s second blank in three races.

Vettel, who had started in 12th position at the Red Bull-owned circuit, had a problem after the opening lap when he informed the team that he had lost drive.

“OK, for some reason I got drive again,” the 26-year-old then reported over the team radio after crawling along and dropping to last place.

Vettel had to pit on lap 30 for a new front wing after making contact with the back of Mexican Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber as they battled for 20th place, an incident that stewards were investigating.

The team then instructed him to return to the pits and retire on lap 35.

Sebastian Vettel in Austria
Sebastian Vettel in Austria

“We stopped because we wanted to save some mileage. We were hoping to get a Safety Car but it wasn’t coming so it was pretty pointless to go around a lap down to the field,” he told reporters.

Vettel won the last nine races of 2013 on his way to a fourth successive title but he has had a troubled 2014 with the change to new V6 turbo hybrid power units and a strong new teammate in Australian Daniel Ricciardo to contend with.

“Obviously, it has been a bad first half of the season with a few retirements and other problems, but I guess it’s part of the game. Equally we were able to learn a lot today and it’s good that Daniel got some points for us,” mused the reigning world champion.

Ricciardo won the previous race in Canada, where Vettel finished third, and was third overall in the championship before Sunday’s eighth round of the season with 19 points more than his teammate.

Vettel,who also retired in Monaco and the opener in Australia, concluded, “It would be bad to say I got used to it, but obviously we have had a lot of problems so far already and I got calmer when the problem occurred.” (Reuters)