May 10, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
Sebastian Vettel’s nightmare weekend in Spain went from bad to worse during qualifying as a gearbox problem forced him to park up in Q3.
The German driver managed just four laps during practice on Friday due to an electrical problem, but he appeared to have not lost out too badly as he made up for it with some running during FP3 on Saturday morning.
However, after exiting the pits for his first run during Q3, Vettel immediately slowed and eventually parked his car at the side of the road at turn three. He was nearly hit by Lewis Hamilton, who had just started his flying lap, but the German driver could not really move out of the way given his problem.
As a result, Vettel will start in 10th place for the race tomorrow, but should he require a new gearbox on his car, he will drop a further five places on the grid and most probably start down in 15th.
Had he not been sidelined, Vettel would most probably have qualified on the second row of the grid alongside teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Despite Red Bull having high hopes of cutting into Mercedes’ lead at the front, it appears that the status quo has been maintained. Ricciardo finished some eight-tenths of a second behind Rosberg in third place, and he will start just ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.
Vettel’s demise will undoubtedly leave him questioning his championship chances in 2014, especially in the wake of Mercedes’ incredible start to the season. However, the Red Bull car underneath him is certainly capable of reaching the podium this weekend, and he will be hoping for a bit of good luck in the race tomorrow to make it happen.
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