Formula 1

Vettel has seen his early-season push for a fifth championship crumble before his eyes in recent weeks.

Sebastian Vettel facing US Grand Prix grid penalty

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Sebastian Vettel is facing a grid penalty for Sunday's US Grand Prix after being summoned by stewards for failing to slow sufficiently under red flag conditions.

After a strong start to the season, four-time world champion Vettel has seen his push for a fifth championship crumble before his eyes, after a series of reliability issues and costly mistakes. 

Vettel's lack of form has also coincided with a stunning set of performances from his long-term title rival Lewis Hamilton, who is all but set to be crowned a five-time champion once again this weekend - having won the previous four races. 

Now, with the prospect of having to watch rival Hamilton crowned once again, Vettel is potentially facing the miserable prospect of having to surrender places on the grid, after having been summoned by stewards to answer for his misdemeanour in the first free practice session. 

The penalty will most likely see the German driver suffer a three-place relegation on the grid, a punishment also received by fellow drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon earlier in the season, for similar offences. 

The first practice session of the weekend also spelled misery for Vettel's future Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc, after the driver ran wide between turns eight and nine - leading to the session being temporarily suspended. 

Hamilton once again set a blistering pace in the session, however, despite rain affecting much of the session.

The Mercedes driver was almost a full two seconds faster than his Scuderia rival, who could only set the fifth fastest time of the day. 

Were Hamilton to maintain this daunting pace advantage into the race on Sunday, then the prospect of this season's title battle looks unlikely to go any further than next weekend's Mexican Grand Prix. 

Indeed, if Hamilton is to outscore Vettel by eight points or more in Texas on Sunday, then the British driver will be crowned a five-time world champion - a feat that only Michael Schumacher (seven) and Juan Manuel Fangio (five) have achieved before.

Lewis Hamilton to win the US Grand Prix (4/9)*

If Vettel is able to prevent this from happening, however, the battle will rage on once again.

But, with Hamilton's and Vettel's respective recent form, it is more a matter of 'when' not 'if', for many pundits and fans alike

*Odds subject to change

Topics:
Sebastian Vettel
Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari
Mercedes
Formula 1

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