F1: Vettel's title bid fizzles out after spark plug failure at Suzuka

Story highlights

  • Vettel's 2017 F1 challenge fading fast
  • Hamilton opens up 59-point title lead
  • Briton can win drivers' title at US GP

(CNN)It's a problem that you'd expect on a cold, dark morning ahead of a morning commute, not in the glare of a Formula One starting grid.

But it turns out that even motorsport's most feted marque suffers from mundane motoring mishaps -- spark plug failure.
Ferrari spotted the problem on Sebastian Vettel's car minutes before Sunday's race, but frantic attempts to change the offending spark plug on the grid failed and six laps into the race, the German driver retired.
    End of the road? Vettel is surrounded by Ferrari mechanics in the pit garage at Suzuka.
    It was the latest hammer blow to Vettel's title chances as Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton took the checkered flag at Suzuka and extended his championship lead to an almost unassailable 59 points with four races to go.
    Vettel's DNF comes hot on the heels of his teammate Kimi Raikkonen's DNS at Malaysian Grand Prix the weekend before. For two weeks running now, Ferrari mechanics have scrambled to fix their drivers' car on the grid.
    And lest we forget the calamities in Singapore where the two Ferraris dramatically crashed into one another and out of the race under the lights at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.