- VETTEL – 5-place grid penalty for gearbox change.
- GROSJEAN – Points ‘would be nice’.
- ALONSO – ‘Mercedes could win every race’.
Sebastian Vettel has been hit with a 5-place grid penalty after qualifying 10th for the Spanish Grand Prix. The reigning World Champion has had a catalogue of glitches and failures in 2014 thus far and the woes continued when a drive failure left him unable to set a time in Q3 on Saturday. The problem was traced last night to the gearbox by Red Bull mechanics and the necessary switch of units has meant the German will start 15th on the grid, 12 places behind team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Romain Grosjean may be driving for a cash-strapped team in the form of Lotus, but that didn’t stop the Enstone-based outfit improving the E22 to the point where the Frenchman, one of the stand-out performers of 2013, was able to qualify the car in 5th place for today’s grand prix.
“I think we benefited a little bit from the fact that Sebastian couldn’t do a lap in Q3 but in general, it’s still sixth not fifth.” said the upbeat Grosjean.
“Yesterday’s [Friday’s] long-run from Pastor looked pretty interesting. I had a much less longer one but it was okay as well…I think there is still more to come from fuel, from the engine mapping performance, from an easier way to change the switches or to add them together and that will come. Points would be nice today.”
Fernando Alonso last won a race here in Barcelona 12 months ago, but the Spaniard holds out little hope of adding to his victory tally in 2014; instead expressing his fear that the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg could win every race on the calendar this year.
“They should be in a position to win all the races probably, so it is going to be tight between them.” said the Ferrari man, who has qualified 7th for today’s race.
“Probably the championship will be decided by who finishes most races between them,” Alonso said.
“I think the mechanical side and luck will be a factor because we saw Lewis is doing some extra from Nico in these first four races, but he is second in the championship because he didn’t finish one race.”
Race start is at 13:00GMT.