Ferrari to appeal Canada GP penalty
Vettel was handed a five-second penalty for rejoining the track “in an unsafe manner” after he ran off course and onto the grass on lap 48 of the race.
Vettel’s action almost caused a collision between him and Mercedes-AMG rival Lewis Hamilton, who was following.
Hamilton eventually won the grand prix even as Vettel crossed the finish line first — a result of the Ferrari driver’s five-second penalty.
Vettel started from pole position.
Under pressure from Hamilton, Vettel on lap 48 went too fast into the Turn 3 chicane and ran onto the grass, returning to the track just ahead of the Mercedes. Hamilton was forced to brake sharply or face being pushed into the wall, or colliding with the Ferrari.
When Vettel was told of the penalty, the four-time world champion exploded, venting his anger over the team radio; “I had nowhere to go. Seriously, I had nowhere to go. They are stealing the race from us.”
At the same time, Mercedes told Hamilton to just “stay in Vettel’s gearbox,” meaning follow the Ferrari as closely as possible.
“Not the way I wanted to win,” said Hamilton, after collecting his fifth victory of the season and equaling Michael Schumacher’s Canadian GP record.
The decision to penalize Vettel allowed Mercedes to extend its season-long domination, making it seven wins in seven races.
Ferrari took the other two places on the podium, Vettel in second and teammate Charles LeClerc third.
Meanwhile, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff called Vettel’s reaction as “natural,” but noted the officials have to be respected.
After the race, Vettel moved the winner’s number one board from in front of Hamilton’s parked up car in the pitlane, replacing it with a number two.
“If it had happened to me I would have kicked the damn board and thrown it against the car,” said Wolff.
“Emotions are logical and are good for the sport and I think it is one of the typical decisions that is a controversial one.
“I am of course biased for Mercedes and I say there is a rule that says you need to leave a car’s width when you go off the track and I think his instinctive reaction was ‘I need to protect that position.’ and maybe that was a tiny bit too far.”
Wolff said he was surprised by the stewards’ decision but also defended them.
“I think they’ve looked at the incident and that needs to be respected. We shouldn’t ignite it even more.” Reports from Reuters
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