Sebastian Vettel title hopes suffer another major blow in qualifying

Sebastian Vettel's Formula 1 championship hopes suffered another major blow on Saturday when an engine problem left him at the back of the grid for the Malaysian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel title hopes suffer another major blow in qualifying

With Ferrari so strong in practice, Vettel had gone into qualifying day as a clear favourite in the fight for pole position.

But his day turned quickly when a suspected electrical problem in final practice cut his running short and forced a late engine change.

Although Ferrari was able to fit Vettel's fourth and final power unit of the season ahead of qualifying, a fresh problem hit him during his first attempt at a lap in Q1.

Vettel's engine appeared to stutter as he said over the team radio that he suspected he had lost his turbo, and he drove back to the pits slowly.

Mechanics began working on the car and, although it appeared at one point he was going to head back out on track, in the end the team gave up.

On a weekend when Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes appeared to be on the backfoot, Vettel faces an uphill task to not lose further ground to his title rival who is 28 points clear, and topped Q1.

"It's not ideal, not what you want, especially on a day where you feel you've got it in you, you've got it in the car, but unfortunately we won't be able to prove that," Vettel told Sky Sports during the session.

"Even though it's a pretty bad day, the race is tomorrow.

"We need to see now what we the problem, but we managed to do the [engine] change successfully in time.

"We thought we would be late, but we made it, so the guys did a miracle today.

"They fixed it up so quickly. It's a shame that we couldn't get out and get it where it belongs for them."

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Lewis Hamilton takes Malaysian GP pole, Sebastian Vettel at the back

Lewis Hamilton takes Malaysian GP pole, Sebastian Vettel at the back
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