Already facing a start from the back row of the grid for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel is set to incur a number of extra penalties for additional power unit elements.
Vettel was unable to set a time in qualifying after his Ferrari lost drive on its outlap. That was despite a precautionary engine change over lunch following issues at the end of FP3.
Ferrari will now take the opportunity to introduce some new components to Vettel’s car, since the penalties can’t drop him any further back than he already is.
“It would make sense. We will see what we have,” Vettel told reporters in Malaysia, saying he wasn’t going to dwell on today’s misfortune.
“I don’t believe in good luck or bad luck. We need to understand what happened today and make sure we understand it.”
Vettel has already used up his full allocation of ICE, control electronics and turbocharger. Taking a fifth of any of these would hand him a ten-place grid penalty for the race.
He’s still on his third MGU-H, MGU-K and energy store, so there would be no penalty for changing these parts. And no strategic advantage, either.
The FIA will officially confirm what penalties Ferrari face on Sunday morning.
Despite the setback in qualifying, Vettel still believes he can fight his way back into contention in tomorrow’s race.
“I expect we will get back to the leading group,” he said. “I don’t have an expectation in terms of a number but anything can happen. That’s why we go racing!
- Hamilton on pole, Vettel at rear for Malaysia GP
“I want to make sure we achieve our best,” he continued. “We need to extract the maximum. Knowing the race here, the conditions, anything can happen. I’m open-minded.
“The race is tomorrow so fortunately in a way it happened today and we saved some tyres and can choose strategy,” he added. “For sure if the safety car comes out in a time that suits you then you never know what is possible.”
His team mate Kimi Raikkonen isn’t in need of the the same sort of good fortune in Sunday’s race. He’ll start from second place on the grid after missing out on pole to Lewis Hamilton by 0.045s.
“It’s okay, but obviously when you get that close it’s a disappointment,” he said after qualifying. “I made the most out of it.
“You’re never going to get 100 per cent perfect anywhere. You’ll always find something to improve.”
Raikkonen said he’s hoping to last longer in this race than he did in Singapore, where he crashed out in turn 1.
“I’ll try and get further than 100 metres tomorrow and see what we can do,” he said. “I don’t want to be hit!
“Obviously it’s a long way [to turn 1],” he explained. “If you make a good start you will benefit quite a bit from it. It’s a pretty tight first three corners, a lot a bit usually happens.
“[I’ll] try to make it through the first three corners well and go it from there. I think we have a very good race car, so we’ll see.”
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