sport

Vettel bored of glitches

Sebastian Vettel will start Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix from a lowly 15th place after gearbox trouble in qualifying, the latest in a long line of glitches to have affected his season.

The quadruple World Champion's attempts to rebound from his difficult start to F1's new era, and swing the intra-team momentum with new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo back his way, have been compromised at Barcelona by mechanical problems with his Renault-powered car.

Vettel's Friday practice comprised just four laps after a wiring loom failure struck his car, and although he completed more laps than anyone in P3 and then ran in the top four in qualifying on Saturday, he failed to set a time in the decisive Q3 segment, stopping soon after exiting the pits when he couldn't change gear.

Red Bull confirmed early on Saturday evening they had no option but to change the gearbox, meaning a five-place grid penalty from the tenth place Vettel ended up in.

Having already run into reliability problems with the RB10 throughout pre-season and then again at the season-opener in Australia and in Bahrain, Vettel admitted to Sky Sports News before receiving the penalty: "There's not much I can do.

"Of course it's disappointing and by now it's a bit boring because we've had all sorts of problems, but the race is tomorrow. We still managed to get in Q3, we are (were) tenth so still anything can happen tomorrow and hopefully there is no damage to the gearbox."

The German's early Q3 demise guaranteed another in-house qualifying victory for Ricciardo, his fourth in five attempts, although the Australian's immediate happiness with third place was tempered by the size of Red Bull's deficit to Mercedes.

"Realistically no one's catching Mercedes right now," the 24-year-old conceded to Sky Sports News.

"But when I crossed the line I thought the lap was not too bad and I expected to be less than a second behind. When I found out they were more than a second in front it hurt me a little bit!"

With the large advantage Mercedes have enjoyed since the start of the season showing no signs of diminishing, Ricciardo admitted that securing the final podium position was his only realistic target for Sunday's race.

"For us it's just to try and keep closing that gap to them. The positive is we're the best of the rest but a second is too much," he added.

"Even with a different strategy in the race it's going to be very hard to make up a second per lap. So we've just got to keep chipping away.

"Obviously they're doing a great job and I'm sure I can still learn, as I am I think each race. But we'll pick up the fight tomorrow and at least try and get on the podium. If we can't do anything about them at least keep the rest behind us."

Coverage of Race Day, live on Sky Sports F1, starts at 11.30am with the Spanish GP underway at 1pm