SEPANG, Malaysia: Sebastian Vettel’s world championship hopes suffered a huge blow on Saturday when his Ferrari failed to set a time in qualifying, meaning he will start last in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Vettel, 28 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the title race, lost drive on his first flying lap.
“It feels like I have no turbo,” he said over team radio.
His mechanics could not fix the problem so he will start from the back of the grid for Sunday’s race at Sepang, unless there are penalties for other drivers.
Vettel’s engine had been changed before qualifying after a similar gremlin in final practice Saturday only for the new unit to fail.
“Who knows what will happen tomorrow,” Vettel told AFP. “The race is tomorrow not today. We have a very quick car and we saved some tyres.
“If it happened tomorrow it would be more of a problem. Anything can happen — you saw that in Singapore two weeks ago how everything can change.”
In Singapore, Vettel had started from pole only to crash on a rain-soaked first lap as Lewis Hamilton won from fifth on the grid to extend his championship lead.