Sebastian Vettel's wretched season continued in Austria on Sunday when an engine electrical issue dropped him out of contention on the opening lap.

Vettel had made quite a good start and had gained a few places from P12 on the grid, but he soon lost power and then found himself a lap down.

Although the issue then seemed to solve itself, he was left way out of contention and Red Bull later opted to retire him around halfway through, although not before he had rather clumsily ran into the back of Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, damaging his front wing.

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It was Vettel's second DNF from the last three races - and his third of the season, and certainly not the sort of result he or the team would have wanted in their home race.

"We stopped because we wanted to save some mileage," explained the four-time F1 World Champion. "We were hoping for a safety car but it wasn't coming. Obviously, it has been a bad first half of the season with a few retirements and other problems, but I guess it's part of the game."

"Equally [though] we were able to learn a lot today and it's good that [my team-mate] Daniel [Ricciardo] got some points for us [and finished eighth, passing Nico Hulkenberg on the final lap]," he continued.

"It would be bad to say I've got used to it [problems like this], but obviously we have had a lot of problems so far already and I got calmer when the problem occurred.

"Our pace looked alright and we were able to go quite far on the soft tyre, but we were a lap down so in the end we decided to save some mileage."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner meanwhile confirmed that they have 'yet to understand' what caused Vettel's car to lose power, although Renault have promised to investigate.

"Sebastian suffered an issue with the electronics at the beginning of the race where he was not able to accelerate for 30 seconds," said Renault's Thierry Salvi.

"The reasons why are still under investigation as everything came back to life shortly afterwards. This failure cost him a lot.

"There's a lot of work to do before Silverstone."