Ferrari woes continue as Raikkonen retires from Malaysian GP

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany sitting in his car prepares for the third practice session at the Sepang International Circuit for the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix in Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Eric To)

Ferrari's woes continued with Kimi Raikkonen retiring before the start of Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix and teammate Sebastian Vettel at the back of the grid after engine problems

SEPANG, Malaysia — Ferrari's woes continued with Kimi Raikkonen retiring before the start of Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix and teammate Sebastian Vettel starting from the back of the grid after engine problems on Saturday.

With less than 10 minutes before qualifying, Ferrari's mechanics hurriedly wheeled Raikkonen's car back to the garage. Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was wiping his face anxiously moments before the start.

It was not immediately apparent why, but Raikkonen failed to get back on track in time for the start. He could ultimately have made a start from the pit lane but could not even do that.

Raikkonen had qualified in second place behind Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

However, Raikkonen is not one to get flustered easily and 15 minutes into the race, the Finnish driver was already in his shorts and walking back to the team's motorhome.

Still, it was another bitter blow for Ferrari, after both cars crashed out of the Singapore GP two weeks ago.

Vettel, meanwhile, was handed a 20-place grid penalty after Ferrari made several component changes to his engine before the race.

Teams are allowed to make four power unit changes per season before incurring penalties. Ferrari had already made the fourth change on Saturday, when an electronic malfunction was detected late into the third practice session.

Vettel then encountered further problems in the first part of qualifying when his car lost power. Because he failed to set a time in qualifying, the four-time F1 champion was starting the race from last place, so effectively the 20-place grid drop makes no difference.

The penalties were 10 places for a new internal combustion engine, and five places each for a new turbo charger and motor generator unit.

The German driver started 28 points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who won in Singapore after Vettel crashed from pole position heading into the first turn, taking out Raikkonen with him.

The latest blip is likely to increase Mercedes' chances of winning a fourth straight constructors' championship, with only five races left after this one.

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