The last few races in the 2017 Formula 1 season have not been kind to Scuderia Ferrari or its star driver, Sebastian Vettel, with the weekend’s F1 Japanese Grand Prix marking the second time in three races that Vettel was forced to retire early. The driver, who not too long ago led the driver’s championship points battle, is now nursing a 59-point deficit to Mercedes-AMG pilot Lewis Hamilton.
The cause for Sebastian Vettel’s most recent retirement was a faulty spark plug.
His No. 5 Ferrari F1 car was inspected on the grid, and seemed okay at the start. But after being passed by Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, and then Force India’s Esteban Ocon, followed by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, Vettel retired from the race, having completed just four laps.
Fellow Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen was only able to manage a fifth-place finish, after starting from tenth. He qualified in fifth, but incurred a penalty for a gearbox change following a crash sustained during practice. Räikkönen also currently sits in fifth in the driver’s championship standings.
Just four events are left on the 2017 Formula 1 calendar, with a maximum of 100 driver’s points up for grabs. Vettel is still holding on to a slim, 13-point edge over third-place driver Valterri Bottas.