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Vettel gets grid penalty

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 30-04-2016
Sutton Images © Provided by BSkyB Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel has been handed a five-place grid penalty after Ferrari were forced to change his gearbox ahead of the Russian GP. 

The news is a further blow to the German driver who ground to a halt during Practice Two in Sochi with an electrical problem on his SF16-H.

A Ferrari spokesman said the gearbox was not damaged on Friday, but in Vettel's first-corner collision with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen at the last race in China.

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Having known about the issue before their arrival in Sochi, the team assessed during the running Vettel did complete on Friday whether or not they could successfully run the gearbox throughout the whole weekend. They ultimately decided not to risk it, so the out-of-sequence change results in the mandatory five-place penalty.

Vettel, who trails Nico Rosberg by 42 points in the Drivers' Championship, will start no higher than sixth on Sunday's grid.

The problem which ended his day early in P2 was an unrelated electrical short-circuit, which shut the car down. 

Speaking before his grid penalty was confirmed, Vettel admitted he was already on the back foot.

"The balance was not quite where I wanted it to be. It was quite slippery," Vettel told Sky Sports F1.

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"[We're] lacking a bit of information from my side but other people did their homework and hopefully we can copy that a bit."

Lewis Hamilton will also have a new gearbox fitted for the race in Russia, however, he will not face a penalty as having replaced his gearbox at the previous grand prix, he is now entitled to take a fresh one to use at the next six races.

Article 23.6 of the 2016 Sporting Regulations states "any replacement gearbox will only be required to complete the remainder of the Event in question", which is why Hamilton can take a fresh gearbox in Russia following his change during the Chinese GP weekend.

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