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2017 F1

Vettel set to avoid Japanese GP grid penalty

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Sebastian Vettel looks set to avoid a grid penalty at Suzuka (Japanese Grand Prix) this weekend.

Four-time world champion had admitted following his bizarre post-race crash with Lance Stroll that he wasn’t sure if his gearbox had been damaged.

If it needs to be replaced, he would take a five-place grid drop this weekend in Japan.

Sky Italia reports that Ferrari sent the unit back to Maranello where it was found that it “should be (able to be) saved”.

However, Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has admitted that the weekend in Malaysia left him angry and “tearing out my hair”.

“It is unquestionable that we could have won, not only there but also in Singapore,” he said.

“Our problems are due to two things. First, we have a very young team, and second, the quality of the components is not up to the required level.

“We are intervening now with organisational changes.”

Ferrari’s two drivers, however, are calling for calm.

The German is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport: “It is definitely not ideal to have two similar defects on consecutive days. But we also can’t complain about our reliability over the entire season.

“This happens when you operate at the limit.”

And Kimi Raikkonen said: “There is no reason to blame anyone. We obviously had a very difficult weekend in Malaysia, but I’m sure we will get it under control.”

Vettel continued: “The truth is that we have a car that can win anywhere. I think we are faster than Mercedes.

“It was a difficult weekend, but our speed is promising.”

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