Sebastian Vettel has admitted that he is fearful of receiving a grid penalty for the Japanese GP following the bizarre post-race incident between the German and the Williams of Lance Stroll.
As the cars headed back to the pits following the end of the race, won by Max Verstappen, Vettel and Stroll came across each other on track at Turn 5. As Vettel drove round the outside of the young Canadian the pair tangled, destroying the rear end of the Ferrari and potentially damaging the gearbox beyond repair. The incident was noted by the stewards, but no action was taken.
However, should the gearbox of the Ferrari need replacing before the start of the Japanese GP, then Vettel will be subject to a grid penalty, an eventuality which will hinder him in his quest to close the 32 point gap between himself and Lewis Hamilton at the top of the World Championship. The German admitted his fears in a post race interview, saying ‘We’ll check but yeah, for sure that could be another bad surprise this weekend’.
Indeed, the Ferrari team have been beset by issues in Malaysia, with Vettel qualifying last on the grid as a result of an engine issue, before Kimi Raikkonen didn’t even start from 2nd on the grid due to a car failure before the race start, and so a penalty in Japan for Vettel would be the bitter end of a troubled weekend for the Tifosi.