F1: Ferrari’s Vettel “Set Down” 5 Grid Places for Sochi Start
Ferrari Team Scuderia’s Sebastian Vettel is set to drop 5 places on the Grid for Sunday’s 2016 Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix after an unscheduled gearbox change on his racer.
This comes after Mr. Vettel lost an hour of running in Friday’s 2nd practice session with a electrical problem on his SF16-H racer, leaving team mate Kimi Raikkonen to conduct most of Ferrari’s practice program.
Mr. Vettel says that that the balance of his car feels quite good and the track is suiting us more and more.
“It is a bit of a shame, as we are now missing quite a few laps especially for the long runs and in the race trim,” he said. “This would have gotten us much more information on how competitive we would be Sunday.
“Kimi had to do the homework for the whole team and that was not too bad, as we roughly know what to expect, and for sure we can also learn from what other people did.”
Ferrari brought a new nose and an updated engine to the Russian race, though Mr. Vettel says it was not be enough to see The Scuderia out-pace world champions MercedesAMG in qualifying.
“We have already seen that they are again very strong here and especially Lewis Hamilton got very well into the rhythm,” he added.
“The good news is that the balance of our car feels quite good and the track is suiting us more and more. But still I have to say that we are not the favorites here.”
Despite his problems in FP2, Mr. Vettel finished the session 2nd fastest behind Mr. Hamilton, with Mr. Raikkonen in 4th behind the 2nd MercedesAMG of Nico Rosberg.
Lewis Hamilton suffered a major blow as an engine problem put him 10th on the Grid, as his Mercedes suffered the same hybrid system failure as at the Chinese GP, which he started from last.
Team-mate Nico Rosberg took Pole position and is likely to extend his large 36-point championship lead.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was 2nd but has a 5 place Grid penalty, putting Williams’ Valtteri Bottas on the front row.
How they line up for Sunday’s racing
|2016 Russian GP (Sochi): Formula One Qualifying Results
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||1:38.091||1:37.569||1:37.125||22|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:38.006||1:37.282||1:37.212||20|
|8||26||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Racing||1:38.265||1:37.606||1:37.459||22|
|9||33||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:38.123||1:37.510||1:37.583||20|
|11||55||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:37.784||1:37.652||14|
|13||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:38.562||1:37.771||17|
|Note – Vettel penalised five grid places for an unscheduled gearbox change.|
Drivers Championship review
Nico Rosberg (75 points) has a 100% record thus far this season with 3 wins out of three and his current lead over reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton (39) is 36 points.
Daniel Ricciardo is in 3rd position, just 3 points behind the British driver after a strong start for Red Bull Racing, who are not as weak as Christian Horner has predicted them to be before the start of the campaign.
The Ferrari cars, who were expected to be MercedesAMG’s closest challengers, have suffered from some management and reliability issues, which has seen both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel retire from a race this season. The latter is in 4th place with 33 points, while his teammate is in 5th place a further 5 points behind.
Constructors Championship review
Despite Mr. Hamilton’s misfortunes, MercedesAMG (114 points) have run ahead in the constructors’ race . Behind the leaders there is a tight battle for second place between Ferrari (61) and Red Bull Racing (57).
Williams (29 points) are in 4th place, but are not looking strong enough to challenge for a Top 3 finish this season, while Haas (18) and Toro Rosso (17) are battling it out for 5th place.
McLaren-Honda’s struggles continue as the Woking-based team have managed to score just 1 point in the 1st 3 races of the season
For live TV in the United States, you have 1 option – the CNBC is showing the race live at 8:00a EDT.
The weather in Russia for Sunday is cool with temperatures in the low-60’s f with no chance of rain for the race.
Enjoy the racing.
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