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Vettel to start from back of grid in Abu Dhabi // Fuel issue leads to qualifying exclusion

Published by Mr. C

Sebastian Vettel's championship hopes have taken a battering today after stewards excluded him from qualifying in Abu Dhabi. The Red Bull driver's car pulled to a halt at the side of the track just after today's session came to a close and the team were unable to deliver the necessary fuel sample required by the regulations.

Vettel will start Sunday's race from either the back of the grid or the pitlane.

You're no fuel
You're no fuelCredit: Vladimir Rys/Getty

Sebastian had qualified strongly in a provisional third place after a troubled afternoon on track, but found himself stranded trackside after his team requested over the radio to park the chassis. During the post-qualifying press conference Sebastian didn't appear to be concerned by the problem.

I don't know why I had to stop, I was asked to stop, I think probably some problem. It shouldn't be something major.

- Sebastian Vettel

After many hours of extended deliberation, discussion with the driver and members of the Red Bull team, stewards concluded Vettel to be in breach of the regulations and duly threw him out of the provisional result.

Game on

Although questions should be asked why it took so very long to come to the decision, the stewarding does appear to be consistent with a previous ruling which saw McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton excluded from qualifying in Barcelona earlier this season.

The outcome of today's ruling potentially reignites the world championship battle which was beginning to look like a forgone conclusion. Vettel currently heads Fernando Alonso by 13 points, has arguably the faster of the two cars and won the previous four races. The exclusion bumps Alonso up a place on the grid to sixth putting him a good position to mount a comeback. Notably, however Hamilton managed to climb up to 8th position after his penalty in Barcelona.

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