Sebastian Vettel's pain in Spain continued after the reigning four-times Formula One world champion was handed a five-place grid penalty ahead of Sunday's grand prix in Barcelona.

Vettel will now start 15th after requiring a gearbox change to his Red Bull which lost drive in the early stages of the final part of the qualifying session at the Circuit de Catalunya.

It was another kick in the teeth for Vettel after missing virtually all of Friday's practice sessions due to his car incurring a simple wiring loom fault that took an age to fix.

Asked whether this weekend was a test of his mettle as a driver, Vettel replied: "Well, I haven't been tested on the track much so far because I haven't driven much.

"It is tough because you would obviously love to get more info about the car, get into a rhythm.

"After missing near enough both practice sessions, I caught up a little in final practice, but then qualifying was tricky.

"In Q3 I left the pits, tried to go up to second (gear), but lost drive.

"I tried third, had third, so I decided to keep going because it is possible to do a lap around here even without second gear.

"But by turn one I was stuck in fifth gear and couldn't go up or down, I had lost all drive, so had to stop.

"These things happen, but now I just have to do the best I can from the position I am in."

Vettel, who opted for a chassis change ahead of this weekend's event in the hope it might bring him better fortune following a poor start to the year, is now becoming increasingly frustrated with the mounting technical glitches.

"With all these reliability issues it's a bit disappointing, and now a bit boring. We've had all sorts of problems this year," added Vettel.

"In practice, unfortunately a very small cable got caught in the wrong place which was impossible to see in putting the car together, but obviously now we know where it belongs.

"Up to that stage you could say we've been lucky because we've never been caught.

"As for today I don't know yet what was the cause. Of course, I'm quite disappointed."

Vettel's penalty means Force India duo Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez move up to 10th and 11th respectively,

Behind them will be Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat in 12th in his Toro Rosso, followed by Esteban Gutierrez in his Sauber and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen, and then Vettel.