Vettel to start Bahrain GP from last after being hit with grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags
Sebastian Vettel will start from the very back of the grid for today's Bahrain Grand Prix after he was hit with a grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags in qualifying.
The four-time world champion was taking part in his first qualifying session for new team Aston Martin when Haas driver Nikita Mazepin spun at Turn 1 during Q1, bringing out double waved yellow flags.
Vettel failed to set a fast enough time to progress through to Q2, but after the session he was summoned to the stewards, who, after hearing from the ex-Ferrari driver on Sunday, found that he had failed to respect the double waved yellows, and hit him with a five-place grid drop for the Grand Prix, and imposed three penalty points.
Given Vettel had only qualified 18th, he will now start from the very back of the grid, behind Mazepin and his Haas team mate Mick Schumacher.
In their ruling, the stewards noted that other drivers aborted their laps or slowed after Mazepin had spun.
"Bottas, Vettel, Perez and Russell approached the scene and drove past Mazepin. Bottas, was immediately instructed by his team to abort his lap in accordance with the Race Director’s Event Notes," a statement said. "Perez and Russell had received the chequered flag, and were instructed to slow, with Russell receiving the additional information that it had been a double yellow sector.
"Vettel did not abandon his lap. He explained to the Stewards that he saw the smoke ahead of him, but was unsure if it was a lock-up or a stopped car until he was quite close to the car and the smoke was lifting.
"The Stewards observed that he had already passed the signal panel when it illuminated as he approached the scene, and that the marshals in that turn had not yet reacted with a yellow flag. Nevertheless, Vettel was approaching a car that was stopped sideways on the track and by the rule this would necessitate a double yellow flag."
After the ruling, Vettel said: "We were already quite far back so it doesn't make a difference.
"Hopefully we will come up with something clever with strategy so we can move up, and enjoy it along the way," he added.