Formula 1

Vettel set for grid penalty following gearbox change

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Following an investigation by his Scuderia Ferrari team in Russia, Sebastian Vettel will take a five-place grid penalty this weekend after the team elected to change the gearbox on the German driver’s SF16-H.

It was announced after the end of Friday practice that Vettel would take the five-place drop at the Sochi Autodrom after the investigation revealed damage to the gearbox, believed to have occurred during the opening lap clash with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen during the Chinese Grand Prix two weeks ago.

The team had run the gearbox during the two practice sessions in Russia, but after further analysis decided to take the safe option to replace it, even if it compromises Vettel’s chances of taking his first victory of the season to end the dominant run of Nico Rosberg and Mercedes.

It rounded out a disappointing day for the German after ending his second free practice session at the Sochi Autodrom, after he stopped on track with thirty minutes remaining with an electrical problem that ended his session.

Vettel finished third in the opening session, before finishing second behind reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton in the second session.

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