Stewards investigating Vettel’s pass on Button

2012 German Grand Prix

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The German Grand Prix stewards are looking into whether Sebastian Vettel’s pass on Jenson Button was legal.

Vettel passed Button for second place on the penultimate lap of the race.

Vettel had a run on Button as they approached the Spitzkehre hairpin and the McLaren driver covered the inside line. As they exited the corner Vettel used the tarmac run-off at the exit of the corner, rejoining the track ahead of the McLaren driver.

Speaking to his team on the radio after the race Button said: “I’m not sure that was correct the way Sebastian got past.

“I think the most important thing is he wouldn’t have overtaken me if he was on the circuit.”

Speaking on the podium after the race Vettel said he was unsure if Button’s car was still on the inside of his. Button finished the race third behind Vettel.

Update: Vettel demoted to fifth with 20-second penalty

2012 German Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    177 comments on “Stewards investigating Vettel’s pass on Button”

    1. i cant seem to understand how Ham escaped a penalty or even an investigation when he pulled that “cucumber” on Vettel.

      1. @mixwell I didn’t see anything remotely incorrect about Hamilton’s driving when he unlapped himself, which I presume is what you’re referring to.

        1. yes. And as said by someone i wasnt aware you are allowed to do so. Besides, the commentators didnt help either.

          1. Christian Horner just had a whinge about it on Sky then said: “Has he done anything wrong? Probably not.”

            1. keith, did button leave a cars width for vettel?

            2. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
              22nd July 2012, 15:33

              @jon jones
              As far as I could tell, Jenson was ahead of Vettel and so had every right to take his racing line.

            3. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
              22nd July 2012, 15:37

              Vettel could have lifted, filed in behind Jenson and tried again on the next lap as he was comfortably faster that Jenson. There was no need for him to risk it by running of track.

            4. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
              22nd July 2012, 15:39

              *risk it by running Off track* lol

            5. Daniel Brown (@scuderiaferrarifanatic)
              22nd July 2012, 15:43

              While he hasn’t done anything wrong from a purely legal-FIA perspective, what he did was certainly not the ‘done thing’ in modern times F1 and that is probably because it causes a nuisance to the front running drivers in question. It is unsportsmanlike in that way. Its such a grey area….its like, he can do it, but it doesnt mean he should have. It wasnt even like he was desperately embroiled in a fight for position with a driver who was charging him down, he just did it to get in the way and be a pain in the butt, because he could do so without penalty.

            6. This has to be the most stupid discussion on record. Hamilton was the fastest on track and trying to get back into the race. What was he supposed to do, sit behind Vettel and shout ‘get a move on?’ The rules are there to stop drivers impeding unfairly when they’re slower, not to stop them unlapping themselves when they’re faster. And I really don’t see why Hamilton hindering Vettel with a clean pass is an issue. He didn’t make things unduly difficult.

        2. teachnically hamiltons move WAS unfair, as it was 2 drivers fighting for the lead, and vettel lost about half a second in the overtaking manouver – so a lapped driver impeded his lap time, others get penalties for this.

          1. hahaha. Absolute rubbish.

          2. Which rule are you saying he broke?

        3. Before anyone says anything about Vettel’s pass consider this for a second, ‘WHAT WOULD VETTEL HAVE DONE IF THERE HAD BEEN A CONCRETE WALL THERE’ instead of track run-off?? He would not have accelerated into the wall but rather slowed down to avoid the wall. So are drivers allowed to take advantage of organizers making the tracks safer??

          The McClaren was slightly ahead & on the track so logically Vettel should’ve slowed down to stay on track.. But race’s wouldn’t be exciting without incidents like this…

          1. There was a significant part of VET’s car alongside BUT’s car, so BUT should have left him the room but instead BUT moved over to the kerb.
            According to the new rules BUT is in fault here.

            1. The last clarification on defensive driving, to which you are referring, only applies to a situation where the drivers are “on a straight and before any braking area”. This was specifically highlighted in the clarification as noted here:

              FIA issues new clarification on defensive driving

              Button and Vettel were jockeying for position in a corner, not on a straight between braking zones, so the latest clarification does not apply here.

      2. Nothing wrong with up-lapping yourself. He was so much quicker than Vettel I can’t see any issue..

        1. Nothing wrong with that but dont mix in when VET and ALO are fighting for the lead. VET lost a sec because of that and that got BUT in front of him at the pit stop

      3. Great, another Hamilton hater for all cost. There was nothing he should be punished for. Get a grip of yourself and snap outta it, geez.

        1. remember some modern day f1 fans perhaps dont realise or never seen that unlapping yourself is perfectly acceptable and allowed part of the sport. As is being lapped in a way that doesnt lose you much time.

          it just doesnt happen to often these days thats all.

          1. My interpretation of the rules is that even IF Hamilton had openly admitted to overtaking Vettel simply to try to help his teammate narrow the gap, that there was still no crime. Let alone just unlapping himself.

            Can anyone point me to a regulation which says otherwise?

            1. @gongtong Exactly. There is no regulation that states you cannot unlap yourself, especially if you are visibly faster, as in Hamilton’s case.

      4. @mixwell
        What Hamilton did was done out of pure pride…. he was told earlier that button was behind and that he shouldn´t hold him up…. I guess he just thought that he´d be damned if Jenson was gonna lap him on track…. and besides, he has all the right to unlap himself… it´s not like he was driving an HRT or a MARUSSIA for God´s sake… and besides he was much quicker than SV!! I guess seeing him getting himself unlaped and pulling aways must have been a devastating thing to watch… ;)

        1. Did he hold Jenson up?


          Did he obey team instructions?


          Did he break and of the sports rules?


          Did he so by giving me a great laugh as he overtook Seb and went off after Alonso, whilst showing off his talent and that if only ‘the racing Gods had been a bit kinder and not given him a puncture’ he was capable of challenging for the podium and maybe even race win (yeah big if given quali and race start, but still…)?


          Should anyone who has a problem with this either get a life or read the rule book?


          1. Trenthamfolk (@)
            22nd July 2012, 21:23

            Post of the day :-)

      5. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
        22nd July 2012, 15:12

        I recall Kubica unlapping himself at the end of the 2008 Brazilian GP, in doing so he caused Hamilton to run wide at turn 11(Mergulho). however, Kubica had every right to unlap himself and in doing so helped make the race more interesting, just like Hamilton did today.

      6. I cant seem to understand how Ham escaped a penalty or even an investigation when he pulled that “cucumber” on Vettel.

        Welcome to motor racing. Tip: the faster car is allowed to pass. Horner saying Hamilton was ‘ unsporting’ for driving past Vettel has to be the nadir of recent years. Just awful mindset. Red Bull aren’t entitled to win unchallenged.

        1. +1
          It’s incredible how short memory works… Vettel had nothing, absolutely nothing to gain and he still made Hamilton’s life a hell in the Brazilian GP in 2008. Now (today), he was expecting Hamilton not to race because he is trying to win in his home GP. Funny, very funny this is. Well… very short memory.

          1. They were fighting for position in that race, here its about HAM being 1 lap down

            1. @Kim K – In a sense both SB and HL had nothing to win by messing each others’ race. In 2008 – DWC at stake and yesterday – 25 points. To suggest LH is stupid when we all know SB would have done exactly the same thing if he was in LH’s place, THAT is stupid.
              I don’t think you have an argument here, sorry. Check the rules and SB needs to grow up!

    2. Vettels excuse that he did not know where button was, so he went wide to avoid contact is identical to hamiltons at spa in 08. Im sorry but it was Illegal and he should have a penalty.

      1. Hamilton gave the place back, right?

        1. Oh wait. That makes it even worse…

      2. And also you have to put in account that not knowing something doesn’t help you with the penalty. Remember Hamiltons pass on the SC in Valencia in 2010. He continued after doing so because he didn’t know whether he passed it before or after the Line but he even got a penalty for it.
        But sadly FIA stewarts never seem to look at similar incidents from the past.

        1. It’s illegal to overtake someone on the outside of the circuit. Doesn’t matter if it is intentionally or not…

      3. I think it was back in 2010 Valencia race Alonso handed a penalty similarly passing for Kubica out of track.

        So i think Vettel should gave the position back to Button immediately. I think a stop and go penalty which may cost over 15sec is on the way for Vettel.

      4. actually I wouldn’t say it was identical at all… It was raining when Lewis did it, Kimi was on the wrong tires and much slower, and oh… yeah I remember he gave the place back before… ahhh Yeah now I see what your getting at.

        Seb took a flyer, he was selling it like a champ… but the rule is quite simple, you can’t gain advantage (overtake) by going off the race track.

        Seb went off the track and overtook Jenson.

        Seb is a naughty boy and should at the very least have his position reversed, and really should receive either a drive through penalty (20seconds) or stop go penalty (30 seconds), as well as possibly a slap on the wrist for not just giving back the place… 5 grid penalty for Hungry….

        However as Seb doesn’t drive a McLaren he will probably just get…

    3. It’s the same situations as in Spa 2008 when Hamilton got 25 seconds time penalty after overtaking Kimi off the track. That was also in second to last lap.

      1. @jan1 Not quite – Hamilton gave the place back, remember. His penalty was for re-passing Raikkonen at the following corner.

        1. @keithcollantine so if anything this is worse?

        2. True. But as @Jake said, this was even worse.

          1. @jleigh sorry for typo

      2. I think that 2008 Spa penalty for Hamilton was completely unfair. He gave the position back and I didn’t see anything wrong with him re-passing Kimi. Similarly I wouldn’t have anything against Vettel today, if gave the position back to Button just to re-pass him the next corner.

    4. The stewards are pretty inconsistent with these kind of incidents. I remember Vettel passing Button in Australian the outside of turn 4 off the track. We also saw Hamilton pass Rosberg in Bahrain off the track. Neither incidents resulted in penalties.

      Then again Webber passed Alonso at Singapore in 2009 off the track at turn 7, and had to give the place back. Button also got penalised for passing Massa off the track in Australia 2011 (the same race Vettel passed him off the track).

      Both drivers in the incidents I mentioned should have resulted in the passing driver giving the place back. There’s no penalty to swap the positions back around as far as I know, so a small time penalty for Vettel like five seconds would be justice.

      1. if vettel gets a penalty it will be 20 seconds, its only fair, same treatment for everybody

        1. But as I mentioned in the first post, it’s not the same for everybody.

          The FIA rulebook should allow for the stewards to swap the positions back.

          1. The Sky commentary team seem to think any time can be added, so just add 6 seconds :-)

          2. but it doesnt, if you give one driver a made up penalty like 5 seconds, you are pretty much favoring them. the punishment for an illegal overtake is (during the race) a drive through, if the race is finished then it is 20 seconds. those are the rules, looks like seb broke them and for that reason he should have the standard punishment.

            1. I said 5 seconds because I remember loads of drivers being given a 5 second penalty in Valencia a few years ago (though it was for a different infringement).

          3. The stewards can hand any time penalty they seem fit and thus can place a car wherever they want to. Not sure if they know this since I remember that Hill (driver steward) said in an interview had no alternative to handing Schumacher a 25 second penalty after that Monaco debacle. The debacle where the road signs showed green flags and yet it was still supposed to be an SC situation and then Schumacher overtook Alonso in the last corener.

            In those days the penalties were described in the overall motorracing rules. Nowadays the FIA copied the penalty section form the overall rules. It’s in 16.3:

            The stewards may impose any one of the penalties below on any driver involved in an Incident:
            a) A drive‐through penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane and re‐join the race without stopping.
            b) A ten second time penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane, stop at his pit for at least ten seconds and then re‐join the race.
            If either of the two penalties above are imposed during the last five laps, or after the end of a race, Article 16.4b) below will not apply and 20 seconds will be added to the elapsed race time
            of the driver concerned in the case of a) above and 30 seconds in the case of b).
            c) A time penalty.
            d) A reprimand.
            If any of the four penalties above are imposed they shall not be subject to appeal.
            e) A drop of any number of grid positions at the driver’s next Event.
            f) Exclusion from the results.
            g) Suspension from the driver’s next Event.

            1. see the recent love for ‘drop position’ penalty, i bet that’s what vettel is getting next GP.

            2. It seems to me that a 20 second penalty or a grid drop next race are the penalties they could realistically impose.

              A 20 second penalty seems fairer given the issue is points for the championship and Vettel clearly made the maneouvre to gain those extra points.

              I also think Vettel had ample time to think through what he did. He drifted wide when trying to outbrake Button put him on the wrong side of the corner. He then still had space to tag behind Button but chose to run off (despite Horner’s ridiculous insinuation that he was forced off), slowed on the run off and then floored it. The stewards will be able to tell from the telemetry that he paused momentarily before accelerating off track: for me that’s a clear sign that he knew he was in the wrong area, otherwise he would have accelerated immediately.

          4. @slr you are wrong. I reviewed all the overtaking scenes you mentioned, and, in Australia Button’s car was in front of Vettel’s car when Button taked the outside line and he return in front(so this is not overtaking), and Hamilton was behind Roseberg ,he went outside and he return with the front car behind the front car of Rosberg, so hamilton didn’t overtook on outside, he overtook at next corner on circuit. Now, Vettel, had the front car behind the front car of Button(with a little), when he got outside, and when he returned, the front of Button’s car was behind the front of Vettel’s car.

      2. BUT got penalized for passing MAS because he passed MAS on the inside.
        Same was the case of WEB.

        Passing on the outside tends to be forgiven by stewards. Reason: The overtaking car takes a longer and less grippier route around the overtaken car.

        1. Usually, but in this case VET had the better route..

        2. In this case, going round the outside meant a straighter line and therefore better traction. The inherent problem here is the runoff.

      3. I think after the “Technical Issue” that they found with the Red Bulls post quali (which the FIA let slide by) they would have come under fire if they didn’t give Vettel a penalty for running and overtaking off track.

        If it had been Marussia or HRT that had engine mappings that wen’t against the rules you can be sure that the FIA would have made them start from the pit lane, I don’t think its right that the stewards disagreed with the person the FIA chose to scrutineer the cars.

        I hope that the other teams raise an appeal on this, it can’t be coincidence that team are constantly raising issues with the Red Bulls developments

    5. Rules are there for a reason… Yes Vettel may have overtaken Button later on….. but in this case he did indeed overtake him off-track …. Button was clearly ahead when Vettel left the track….

    6. He clearly overtook him off the track. He was behind, he left the track, and when he rejoined, he was ahead.

      I blame the run off areas. There are places where tarmac run off isn’t really needed. Why the hell do they have a massive tarmac area outside the track AFTER the corner, which (even worse) is a harpin.

      They get over the head with the tarmac run offs. It really not needed at most places… and this stuff happens, people deliberately go further outside the track to gain time.

      1. Nice try, but you cant blame run offs.

        1. @infy really? why not?

        2. Because it is the drivers choice to use the runoff and the stewards job to enforce the rules. The runoffs are there to provide safety and they are the most effective way to slow an F1 car down after going 300+km/h.

          Blame the driver for breaking the rules.

          1. The point is that the run-off at that location does nothing for safety- all it does is dares the drivers to use it. Blame both the driver and the unnecessary tarmac.

          2. @infy as @matt90 says (and as I pointed out) there are bits of tarmac run-off areas that have nothing to do with safety. That one Vettel used has nothing to do with safety at all.

            I agree with what you say, but that’s not a place where a car is going 300+ km/h. So the enormous tarmac run off area is absolutely pointless. There should be a balance between safety and avoid people gaining unfair advantage. That bit only gives drivers the chance to use it as another part of the track.

            1. My point is that you are blaming the wrong thing here. If the rules are enforced properly, then there’s no need to make changes to the runoff.

            2. @infy if you give them the chance to push the boundaries, it’ll happen and it’ll always be controvertial.

      2. Totally agree with you @fer-no65, there is far to much astro turf and tarmac at this curcuit in particular, the whole weekend the drivers were creating their own tracks.

        1. Ditto. A shame we don’t have the likes of a Moss designing a track instead of paint markings for a corner. Then we’d not be subject to inconsistent stewards. Not to mention how long it’s taking them to rule. Bureaucrats.

      3. Indeed, should get a minimum of 5 seconds penalty. And fully agree on the tarmac there, absolutely not needed at all.

      4. I agree. F1 drivers are cunning and use any advantage they can get, both legal and quasi-legal. It’s in their nature. Giving them such wide run-offs and expecting them not to make moves is half the problem in my book! This does not absolve Vettel for passing off the track however.

      5. I have a feeling he’ll get away with it, he was far enough alongside that, according to the FIA’s own recent clarification that a driver has to give room if the front wing overlaps the rear wheel, which Jenson didn’t do. That’s what I’d be arguing were I Vettel anyway.

        1. Button likely only ran so wide because Vettel was already heading off the track in a straight line. And at the beginning of the move- which I would classify as mid-corner when Vettel had the choice to stick it around the outside or back out- Button was ahead, with every right to defend.

          Also, I believe the most recent clarification was only relevant to straights.

      6. I agree, @fer-no65. If I remember correctly, the RTL commentators said during qualifying that it was part of the drag-racing strip, so it’s not as simple as getting rid of it. It still does create an incentive for the F1 drivers to use it, though, and they could put temporary sleeping policemen on it, I’m sure – other circuits do, and the drivers magically always seem to find a way around them.

        Kimi consistently used a similar area (coered with high-grip material) after La Source hairpin at Spa a few years ago, to both overtake and stay ahead, and didn’t get any penalty. The rules have been changed since then, though.

    7. Give Vettel a 10-sec penalty coz that’s rules. But not 20 sec, that would rob him of his podium which he very well deserves!

      1. That’s the worst option of them all. It’s either 20 seconds or nothing. If Vettel wanted the podium, he should’ve let Button past.

        1. Yep. Consistency above all.

          1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
            22nd July 2012, 15:19

            Stewards can’t show favouritism towards a driver because it’s his home GP or because he ‘deserves’ a podium. As far as I’m concerned you earn a podium and if you gain that podium via breaking the rules, than you deserve what you get. Has to be a 20 second pen.

        2. wow!!! So, you want to hang a man ‘coz he dared break wind in the elevator. ever considered applying for the supreme court chair?

          1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
            22nd July 2012, 15:28

            Breaking wind isn’t against the rules of elevator etiquette. ;-)

            1. oh darn! and i thought i could sue this guy who uses our office elevator to fizzle out his drizzle! ;-)

          2. If I were a judge and that was the law, I would have to, yes.

            1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
              22nd July 2012, 15:43

              If breaking wind in an elevator was against the Law, I’d be on death row right now. :-)

            2. but neither are true, innit? which means then that, you – no scratch that- the stewards wouldn’t!

            3. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
              22nd July 2012, 15:53

              Um…wait a minute, are you talking about farting or racing?

            4. @Traverse Sr,

              well, both involve the exit speed to be very fast! ;-)

              BTW, the “but neither………..stewards wouldn’t” comment was a reply to username ‘necrodeathmortem’.

      2. @f1lunatic
        Why should he get special treatment when it comes to sanctions??? The rule says 20sec., 20 sec. it is…. plain and simple…. I think this time the cucumber was himself… he should have given the place back if he wanted that podium… but, don´t worry… he won´t get sanctioned… he never does… :/

        The messed thing about it is that that rule can´t be interpreted yet he´ll get away with it once again…

        1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
          22nd July 2012, 15:25

          When you consider the penalty that Hamilton got at the Spanish GP for being short fuelled at the end of Q3 (demoted to the back of the grid), a 20 seconds pen is the least Vettel should get.

          1. Yeah, now THIS is fair reasoning. At least, this way every boy that bunks his class gets his ___ spanked!

            But I dont agree on some others’ ‘Rule-is-Rule’ reasoning!

            1. oh, I mean to say “……..gets his (*) spanked!” ;-)

        2. The rule says 20sec

          Sorry JB, but the rule 16.3 c,d,e,f,g are all other options to the 20sec penalty. So, a 10-sec penalty CAN still be applied.

          And i ain’t no vettel fan, been rooting for Raikkonen since 2001, and yet i would neither want Kimi to gain podium in this fashion, nor would I want a juvenie racing mistake in the ‘heat of the moment’ to be punished like an adult’s!

          people first complain about lack of racing aggression, then when it starts hapenning, some others complain about the presence of the same. So, i guess complaints will always rule!

          1. Vettel’s move wasn’t aggressive, it was sneaky.

            1. No. He took the outside line, braked later and was trying for an outside move, now that is being aggressive. However, when he couldnt get his move stick, he should have stuck to Button’s slipstream, which he didnt, and THIS was a mistake, at least he didnt crash into Button trying to come back, like mad-donado in Valencia.

              sneaky was when Kimi stitched Hulkenberg( and almost schumacher ) up when Nico lost momentum against Michael.

            2. He went for the outside move (=aggressive), realize it hadn’t worked and then, instead of doing the right thing, he did the naughty thing (=sneaky).

            3. Now now, make up your mind, was the move aggressive/naughty/sneaky/other …. which one? ;-)

            4. I thought I made it clear enough, but here we go:

              The attempt to go around the outside = aggressive = good.

              After that attempt failed, instead of accepting defeat, he went on the throttle too early, knowing he would thereby overtake Button outside the track = sneaky = bad.

    8. What was Vettel’s excuse in the driver room pre-podium? Something about not knowing where Jenson was and making sure he gave him room? Seb, the camera on your car showed he was in front until you decided you wanted more room than JB was offering you on the outside of the track, so you decided to go over the kerb and got past.

    9. Yeah, he probably will get a penalty. If there was grass there he wouldn’t have been through.

      1. If there was grass there he couldn´t have overtaken him there….

      2. If there was grass there he wouldn’t have been through.


        I’m all in favour of using tarmac run-off where it is needed – on the outside of fast corners, for example. But not adjacent to an acceleration zone out of a hairpin.

        They need to put grass or a low-grip artificial surface down there – and at a few other places at Hockenheim.

        1. spa turn 1 also.

          1. That’s where Raikkone won his 2009 Spa, but in his defense it was the first corner of the race AND he had to counter the late braking cars from behind.

            But, in hindsight of that and other races, adding grass/other at turn1 spa would be ‘disastrous’!

            1. why would it?

              or simply put it back to how it was when that out curtain or tarmac was the track and u had two acceptable lines, wide or tight both worked which created great racing.

        2. how ’bout ’em little bumps, a la Valencia? Certainly made for some ‘interesting’ racing, and some ‘punishing’ as well!

    10. How long does it take to determine a whether to give Vettel a penalty or not? It’s not a hard decision to make, yet it’s taking ages. Maybe I’m missing something with the process…

      1. 30 seconds to decide that they should give the penalty. 3 hours to decide on the politics of actually giving the said penalty.

        1. Exactly. I wish for the day the stewards are subject to same pointed questioning IN PUBLIC like the drivers and team managers post race.

    11. I don’t know, it’s quite difficult to judge, actually. Vettel’s move on Button in Australia 2011 was no legal, in my opinion, he carried more speed in that corner and it was clear that he wasn’t going to make it. In this case Vettel was going to accelerate inside the track. He moved to leave Button enough space.
      I mean, that’s probably what Seb is going to say to the stewards.

      So, yeah, I don’t know. He went off track, and you shouldn’t be there. I don’t know, we will see.

    12. Hopefully he only gets something like a 10 second penalty. He doesn’t deserve to lose third.

    13. There will not be sanction for vettel. Wrong but it is Germany

    14. sid_prasher (@)
      22nd July 2012, 15:06

      I think Seb could have got passed Button on the last lap…now he will only end just ahead of Perez.

      1. @sid_prasher – if he incurs any penalty I think it’d only be fair to reverse the positions because as you have pointed out he would’ve gotten past Button most likely anyway on the last lap. In my view if the pass was indeed illegal then the FIA should’ve beforehand relayed the message to Vettel that he had to give the place back: which they didn’t do. So therefore punishing him with a 20s time penalty or worse would be unjust in my opinion.

        1. sid_prasher (@)
          22nd July 2012, 15:37

          @vettel1 – but there is no provision for that in the rule…it ll either be no penalty or a 20 sec. penalty.
          I agree that this decisions should be made during the race and not afterwards. If stewards feel it was a clear cut case then they should inform the team that the place needs to be returned and not wait till post race to make a judgement.

          1. @sid_prasher – they can however apply any time penalty they please, which would allow them to give him a 10s time penalty for example, hence giving the position back to Button.

            1. sid_prasher (@)
              22nd July 2012, 19:07

              @vettel1 – yes i didnt realize they could pick an arbitrary number…anyways they have picked 20 as i suspected…

        2. yep, it wud have been far more convenient….BUT, how could the Stewards have managed that? They would need at least a couple of laps time to analyze and come to a decision, and then a lap’s time before it is radioed in to the team and from the team to the driver, by which time Vettel and Button would have been congratulating Alonso!!!

          1. @f1lunatic – I think it’s a fairly simple decision, and they had two laps in which to make it (which obviously is not much time but I believe it to be sufficient). I don’t think his move was entirely fair, but to penalise him now with a twenty second penalty (which would relegate him to 5th or 6th I believe) would be grossly unfair: after all the likelihood is he would’ve passed him on the last lap anyway.
            My personal opinion is that Vettel should’ve given the position back (as the FIA should have told him to do) which would allow the race to finish without controversy: a far better option than tempering with the results.

    15. That was a pretty dodgy move by Vettel. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if the Golden Child gets away with it !!!

    16. For a reference to the past, this is a pass Schumacher made on Jarno Trulli in the exact same way at the same corner 9 years ago. No penalty given.

      1. Hmm, it’s similar but I think there’s a little difference here. Jarno never give him space but Button tried to avoid crash with him.

      2. @ciaran Ah, that’s the move I was thinking of but couldn’t put names too.

        As I recall, Schumacher wasn’t penalised for that but later dropped back with a puncture, possibly incurred when he went off the track.

        Interesting to note he was further behind Trulli coming out of the corner than Vettel was behind Button.

        1. Yeah you’re right, he had a puncture 4 laps before the end (or something like that), caused by heavy tyre wear in the extreme heat, but it was accelerated by picking up debris off the track.

          Very true about the positioning of his car before the move as well. What I find interesting is that Schumacher rejoined the track side-by-side with Trulli, whereas Vettel emerged right ahead of Button. I think that might be a decisive factor in the investigation.

      3. They changed the rules when Hamilton overtook Raikkonen at Spa 2008. Or at least they set a new more strict precedent.

        You can find plenty things that drivers did not get penalised for a decade ago, but they do get a penalty for it now.

    17. If there’s penalty, Alonso will smile much more.

    18. Hamilton’s fault!

      If he hadn’t unlapped himself earlier, Button would’ve never gotten ahead of Vettel in the first place!!!1

      1. lol… you can´t be serious about that!

      2. Haha, that’s true. If Hamilton did nothing to Vettel, it should been different. Butterfly Effect! :D

    19. a significant part of vettels car was alongside jensons, jenson left no room on the track for vettels car. button should get a penalty! over and out.

      1. Not sure if serious…

        There was plenty of room, all he had to do was wait a bit to get back on the throttle.

      2. Jenson left no room on the track for Vettel’s car

        He’s not required to. Button certainly did nothing wrong.

        1. If the overtaking car has a significant part alongside the other car the defending car must leave enough room. Vettel was completely side by side with Button.

          Vettel did leave the track before Button crowded him off the track however.

          1. i think you are right f1fannl, im just sure that red bull will argue that jensons trajectory is what vettel had imagined it would be (as he couldnt see him) and if he hadnt have left the track there would have been contact

          2. @f1fannl As I see it, Button and Vettel were not on a straight between braking zones, so this does not apply:

            Any driver defending his position on a straight and before any braking area, may use the full width of the track during his first move provided no significant portion of the car attempting to pass is alongside his

            See here for more: FIA issues new clarification on defensive driving

            1. They would have been if Vettel had staid on track but as I said, Vettel already left the track before Button could crowd him off.

      3. der, you must have a different rule book.

    20. Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel are set to appear in front of the stewards in 15 minutes

    21. Vettel constantly ignored the track limits throughout the whole race and should have been given a stop/go as Charlie Whiting said they would. He then passed Button off track to compound the issue and it would seem as usual that Red Bull will get away with it.

      1. Also Alonso kept on going beyond the track limits at the exit of turn 16. So I don’t think that the stewards will be too harsh on them for that.

      2. The only thing he achieved by doing that was losing time, some times as much as 0.5 a lap, clearly trying to push too hard. Plus, other drivers have done so in the past with not even a reprimand, let alone a stop/go penalty.

        1. Exactly. Alonso lost time every time he run wide out of the track so he didn’t gain anything on doing so.

    22. I think Vettel should have to give up the second place for Button, when a driver past someone on the outside you should always ask “would he had passed if there were grass/gravel on the outside” and he could probably had passed Button by taking higher ground in the corner and then taking Button on the acceleration point or on the next lap.

      Short note about the ‘Hamilton discussion’:
      A quicker driver is always allowed to pass, even the leaders of the race.

    23. I would be really surprised if any penalty was given. It’s Vettel and he drives for Red Bull. Like I said I’d be really surpirised. Golden boy and golden team.

    24. Schumacher passed Button at Monza in a chicane, putting all 4 wheels marginally outside the white lines, quite aggressive and almost dangerous, with no inquest. It seems to depend where you are in the pecking order of the year…

        1. Ohhhh I remember that one!! And sorry.. nothing wrong in that move… that just showed commitment and balls by Schumi!! And I agree with @sumedh that was one of the best moves of that season!!

      1. I hope you are kidding!

        That was one of the overtaking moves of the season! Nothing illegal or dangerous about it. Just balls-out driving. Look at how much speed he carries through that chicane compared to Button.

        1. Strange, I thought the S shape of a chicane was designed to drop speed a little, limit the width to 1 car, and that the lines were there to keep cars in, not to guide overenthusiastic Germans to the short cut past a competitor, but maybe I watch too many F1 races…

          1. That was like one of the best passes of the season and Schumacher never completly leaves the track?

      2. Schumacher had some part of the car “on track” during the whole of that move.

    25. It was a clean pass. Beautiful overtaking, and here we are debating rule books. I can only imagine what would have happened with Villleneuve and Arnoux if that epic battle occurred in these days.

      1. Then imagine a concrete wall instead of a tarmac run-off. Is your “clean pass” even remotely possible now?

      2. No it wasn’t a beautiful pass. Kimi’s pass on di Resta earlier in the race was an example of a beautiful overtake, where both drivers respected the track limits and the rules.

        I think it’s clear Vettel elected to go off track rather than back out, and in doing so gained an unfair advantage.

        If he is given a penalty is a whole different ball game though as has been shown by the FIA and the stewards recently.

    26. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      22nd July 2012, 15:47

      When it comes to penalties, Germans always come out on top.

    27. Alonso, Spa, 2007, La Source, first lap…anyone remembers?

      1. First lap incidents are rarely looked at.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          22nd July 2012, 16:15

          Except Spa 2011.

        2. But they still are incidents…

      2. No but I remember Alonso pass on Kubica in Silverstone 2010 and he was penalised for that.

        1. That is totally different from the situation that I have mencioned at Spa and the situation that we area discussing today…
          Alonso cut the inside line at the Club Corner when he past Kubica in 2010…
          We are here talking about an overtake maneuver from outside!!!

    28. I dont think the stewards will base their judgment on the past similar incident. everything done in the past is done and I think their decisions and changes are for the best of the sport right now and they have to carry on even though it’s impossible to be 100% fair and consistent for a race steward in this sports

    29. The bit I hate are the excuses from driver (slippery paint, ran me off road) & attempts at deflection from Team members (yes but look what Hamilton did (cough..ahem.. perfectly legally..)). Do they think all F1 fans are blind? Or stupid? Treat us like adults and admit when you messed up. We love the ‘sport’ but you tarnish it with this cheap spin.

      1. As long as the stewards have not said anything, who is to say that Red Bull have “messed up”?

        The Red Bull principal and driver are perfectly allowed to say what they feel when they are being interviewed.
        Felipe, after the 2010 German Grand Prix said, “I had a problem with the gears and Alonso passed me”.
        There are no FIA rules governing what the team says after the race is done.

        1. Contrast Jensons ‘I don’t think I should comment’ with the alternative approach from Red Bull. Apologies for thinking that sportsmanship and honesty have any place in this modern World…

    30. On one hand: Vettel’s move was indeed a bit over the edge of the rulebook there. True. And given the FIA’s attitude towards similar moves in the past, a reaction from the stewards seems in order.

      On the other hand: I’m sick and tired of seeing penalties thrown all over the place by the FIA for the smallest infringements or for moves that, despite being at the limit, have no impact on the other drivers’ races / quali sessions etc.

      At this rate, soon we’re gonna have races with 100% clean DRS passes everywhere on track, races in which the slightest move in the steering wheel or going an inch over the line will get reported as waving, impeding or overtaking off the track. And no one will talk strategies over the radio ever again. There shall be only whining and complaining.

      I say let the guys race as hard as they can if their actions on track:
      – are not BLATANT infringements of the rules;
      – do not influence the other drivers’ races (for example, in this particular case there was no impeding, holding back or anything else as Vettel was quicker than Button and would have passed him anyway);
      – are not putting themselves, the other drivers, the crews, the stewards or the spectators in danger.

      1. Denis(Russia)
        22nd July 2012, 16:41

        totally agree!! let them racing each other on the limit! let the real racing started!
        DRS overtakes isn’t good as they seemed to be. you can overtake without a fight. on the other hand, you can’t overtake at all. today Jenson hopelessly have been trying to catch up Alonso for instance.

        i hope for “no further action”. that’s would be pretty much fair for RB today. indistinct engine mapping investigation, stupid unlaping by hamilton on vettel. what he was thinking about? to spoil the battle for 1st position? to take a 18th place in the race or maybe to hold up vettel? and for a starter, this overtaking manoeuvre. oo, i love FIA and very uncertain things

        1. let them racing each other on the limit

          They can – “the limit” is the boundaries of the track. Vettel exceeded them, which is why he’s been penalised.

    31. unfortunantly there is precedent for this move done at this track – michael schumacher in ferrari a few years back, overtaking people off the track and no penalty. also hamilton got no penalty for a way more off the road overtake on rosberg in bahrain this year.


        3.30 seconds in 2003 hockenheim GP – Michael schumacher did way way worse then what vettel did at the same turn – no penalty

    32. 20 second time penalty for Vettel.

    33. 20 second penalty is effectively a retrospective drive-thru. Clearly stewards setting an example.

      Now where are all those people from this morning saying the FIA favour red bull… ;-)

    34. Well, after all the armchair professionals have had their say, the real stewards agree with the rule book. Herr Vettel was out of order passing outside the track limits. Mr. Button should be quite pleased.
      I suppose Seb will think he is being victimised, on his home track.
      But hey, thats racing…….

    35. Breaking news Seb been demoted to fifth that means a 20s penality.,

    36. Nice to see a rule implemented (rather than interpreted). Let’s hope stewards are consistent for rest of year (forever is asking too much). And yes, even if Lotus or McLaren are at fault.

    37. Initially I believed that Button had left him no choice to run-off but following a few replays it was pretty evident that he was being opportunistic! The cynic inside me tells me that Vettel knew what he was doing was wrong, but owing to how difficult these things can be to judge he thought he might as well try it.

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