German driver Sebastian Vettel from Aston Martin started the Bahrain Grand Prix for the opening of the Formula 1 season from the back of the grid, after a penalty of five places on the grid, the FIA governing body announced
The federation said Vettel failed to honor double yellow flags during Q1 in a qualifying session on Saturday when Haas driver Nikita Mazepin turned 1 turn, DPA reported.
As a result, four-time world champion Vettel fell from 18th to 20th place in the grid on his Aston Martin debut after six years at Ferrari.
“Vettel did not abandon his lap. He explained to the stewards that he saw smoke in front of him, but he was not sure if it was a lock or a stopped car until he got close to the car and the smoke rose,” the statement said.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen started in pole position, while seven-time world champion Luis Hamilton of Mercedes was second and his teammate Valteri Botas third.
Louis Hamilton won the F1 title last year, while Vettel finished 13th with just one podium.
Vettel won his four Formula One championships between 2010 and 2013.