Sebastian Vettel edges closer to grid penalty after missing national anthem in Japan

SUZUKA, Japan -- Sebastian Vettel received a reprimand for missing the national anthem at the Japanese Grand Prix and will be hit with a ten-place penalty if he receives a further reprimand for a driving offence this season.

Vettel missed the pre-race anthem while his team attempted to fix a spark plug problem on his car's power unit on the grid. Under the regulations drivers are required to stand at the front of the grid during the national anthem as a sign of respect to the host nation, but Vettel arrived too late in Suzuka.

Three reprimands in one season result in a ten-place penalty but only if at least two of the reprimands are for driving offences.

Vettel was reprimanded earlier this season in Monaco for crossing the white line marking the pit lane exit during qualifying, which constitutes a driving reprimand. Therefore, another driving reprimand before the end of the year would result in a grid drop.