Vettel gets five-place grid penalty for gearbox change

F1+Grand+Prix+Russia+Practice+MWmD7by9uacxSebastian Vettel

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel will take a five-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix after switching to a new gearbox for the remainder of the weekend.

Vettel’s grid penalty coincides with him stopping on track half-way through FP2 at Sochi Autodrom, however a Ferrari spokesman confirmed the gearbox was not damaged in the incident.

The gearbox change is a direct result of Vettel’s first-corner collision with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen at the last race in China.

As Vettel finished the race in Shanghai, but his gearbox had to be changed before the required six consecutive events. Thus he will be moved down five grid places from wherever he qualifies.

Speaking at the end of day one in Sochi, Vettel said, “Looks like we had an electric problem, but I am sure we can fix it. 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.”

“I think the car was getting better though and 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 [Saturday] morning, when we have another practice session,” he added.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton also changes his gearbox, though he avoids a penalty as he replaced his unit for a spare in China and is thus permitted to take a new one.