Home > Sport > Motorsport
Saturday March 15, 2014 MYT 7:58:00 PM
Saturday March 15, 2014 MYT 8:03:28 PM
German F1 driver Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull in the garage during the third practice session of the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park on Saturday. Vettel will start Sunday's race from 13th on the grid. - EPA
MELBOURNE (AFP): Red Bull were left puzzling over an engine software problem which left Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel struggling in qualifying on Saturday and endangered his bid for a record 10th consecutive win.
The German missed out on the top 10 starting grid positions for the first time since Abu Dhabi in 2012 as Lewis Hamilton claimed the pole for Mercedes in Sunday's Australian season opener.
The problem with the software related to his Red Bull's Renault engine badly affected the car's performance in what were difficult, wet conditions at Melbourne's Albert Park.
And Vettel's attempt to reach the final stage of qualifying was hit when Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen went off in Q2, meaning the cars behind him were ordered to slow down.
It was a significant setback for Vettel after Red Bull appeared to have overcome serious mechanical issues in pre-season with an encouraging first day of practice on Friday.
Vettel is searching for a fifth straight world title and a record 10 wins in a row but instead it was his new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo who will start from the front row Sunday.
"I think we have made a big step forward with the car, but of course I'm not happy that we didn't make it to Q3," Vettel said.
"I think the car is quick, but we struggled this afternoon with driveability which, in these (wet) conditions, made it even worse.
"The car seems good and Daniel did a very good job to be on the front row, so congratulations to him."
He added: "It's going to be a long race tomorrow and reliability will be the most important thing to make it to the flag, but I think there will be lots of opportunities for us."
Tags / Keywords:
Sebastian Vettel, F1, Red Bull, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne
Vettel's win shows Mercedes not invincible
The other side of Hamilton
F1 to stay in Sepang until 2018
Williams did OK with fifth place finish
Rosberg throws down the gauntlet to Ferrari
Raikkonen's Ferrari future depends on performance
Ferrari to play 'carrot and stick' with Raikkonen
Rosberg faster than Hamilton in Bahrain
Honda’s Zamri too hot in Asia Road Racing opener
Zamri in prime condition for SuperSports challenge
Vettel not expecting any gifts from Mercedes
Cross protest: The kindness of strangers
UiTM’s unbeaten streak earns them second inter-varsity title
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Book 1
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)