Vettel demoted to fifth with 20-second penalty

2012 German Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel has been given a 20-second penalty for passing Jenson Button off the track during the German Grand Prix.

The penalty, for breach of article 20.2 of the sporting regulations, drops Vettel to fifth in the race.

The stewards determined Vettel had “left the track and gained an advantage when he rejoined”. He was given a drive-through penalty which, because it was awarded after the race, became a 20-second penalty.

Button moves up to second with Kimi Raikkonen promoted to third ahead of Kamui Kobayashi.

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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269 comments on “Vettel demoted to fifth with 20-second penalty”

  1. No surprices here

    1. It is, actually :P

      1. Indeed. If memory serves me right Hamilton passed Rosberg completely off the track in Bahrain and no action was taken. How odd.

        1. I think he didn’t complete the pass.

          1. yes he did

    2. Nope…. Charlie was warning the drivers before the race about not using the ‘off track’ so its not a surprise at all…. I think the stewards have been waiting for such an obvious case so they can make an example… pour encourager les autres

      So not a surprise that he was punished…. perhaps a surprise about the size of the penalty.

      1. Hamilton from pole to last in qualification…that was a surprise!

        1. Except he wasn’t on pole.

          1. I think @sorin was referring to the Spanish Grand Prix

  2. Defininetly due in this case.

    1. I can’t believe I have an ounce of sympathy for Seb but I would have been satisfied had they merely reversed the positions, which of course is what Seb should have done himself so it’s not surprising the stewards decided to add a penalty.

      1. I agree, I thought they would probably just reverse the positions although this wouldn’t really act as much of a deterrent in future.

        1. they cant just reverse the positions. they have to do what is in the rule-book. reversing the positions is not one of the available penalties in F1.

  3. 5 fingers!!!

    1. LMAO.. nice one!

  4. Correct decision for once!

  5. Seems a bit harsh. I think he should have just lost a position to Button but I can understand it.

    1. Look Seb has gotten with a lot of judgements and this was long overdue and besides he broke the rule that a novice can clearly read.


    2. 20 seconds will always look harsh considering how tight it is these days.

    3. I agree, think it would have been enough to hand out a 5 second penalty to drop him behind Button.

      Seems the Stewards don’t want to let him get away without a penalty that costs him anything though, maybe next time a driver in a position like that will really give the place back now.

      1. He knew he went off the track and admitted it. He knows the rules, his team would have heard the radio from Jenson and they made the decision to risk it. For that I think they were penailzed.

      2. A 5 second penalty is impossible. A 20 second penalty is the smallest possible penalty that is available to the stewards. It was 20 seconds or nothing.

        1. Several drivers were given 5 second penatlies in Valencia 2010.

          Although it was never explained how that was possible.

          1. There’s always the possibility to give another sort of penalty. It has been made more clear 2? years ago, while in fact the possibility to give any punsishment always existed.

          2. As per FIA Article 16.3c, a time penalty of any duration, as applicable and deemed so by the race stewards, may be imposed on the erring driver/s.

            But then again, 16.4d also makes room for just a ‘reprimand’. Really, it’s just subjective, but surely subjective with political overtones!

          3. 16.3a) is the penalty for gaining an advantage from driving off the track… which becomes a 20sec penalty if in the last 5 laps.

          4. @marlarkey

            16.3a) is the penalty for gaining an advantage from driving off the track…

            Doesnt say so anywhere, except that IF the stewards choose the option 16.3a or 16.3b, but the incident happens in the last 5 laps, ONLY THEN would the 20sec penalty become an automatic penalty transition.

            However nothing can stop the stewards to instead choose 16.3c as their penalty option, in which case, the penalty may be of ANY time duration!

          5. Except that a drive-through penalty (ie 16.3a) is always the penalty given for gaining advantage from driving off the track….

            For the stewards to give any other penalty would be contrary to precedent, would be inconsistent and would open them up to accusations of favouritism.

      3. they want to give him ( S Vet ) a drive through penalty , but as the race ends soon so it converted into a 20 SEC Penalty … <<<

    4. Penalty means much more than give and take. It’s punishment.

      1. Exactly, he pulled an illegal move which he didn’t acknowledge, so being dropped down several places seems fair- maybe next time he and others will be more careful.

    5. I think a five second penalty would have been sufficient, after all given his situation in the last laps it was more than likely he would have taken the position anyway had he yeilded.

      1. Sorry, but a 5 sec penalty is impossible within the rules.

        1. HewisLamilton
          23rd July 2012, 15:44

          Which rules are you referring to that do not allow a 5 sec penalty???

      2. 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.

        Effectively they ruled that this would have been punished by a drive-through penalty if it had been during the race but because it was in the last 5 laps that equates to a 20sec penalty.

        1. but they could just as well have given option c) a time penalty where the time could have been set to 5 seconds.

          1. No, they were treating it as if it had happened at any time in the race from the outset, as they should. There is no reason to give it a different treatment just because it happened at the end and thought he could get away with it. Based on that, the reasonable punishment is always a drive through for such a move. And as a drive through cannot be given, it is a 20 second penalty. Applying option c) would be treating it differently to if the same incident had occurred and been analysed in the middle of the race.

          2. @matt90 is exactly right. We’re always complaining about inconsistency in the stewarding, in this case they gave out what was the consistently applied penalty given the infringement which they identified. You might argue about whether he did anything wrong (my opinion is that he did and this seems to be agreed upon by most) – given that then a drivethrough (equivalently 20s) was the only penalty they could give for consistency. If this had happened at any other time (driver overtaking of track and not giving the place back) then it would have been a drive through penalty.

            I was actually surprised that Vettel wasn’t given an earlier warning as he was consistently running off track lap-in lap-out, I remember in the past Massa being given a warning about cutting a corner during a race, how come Charlie didn’t warn Vettel earlier as he seemed to prefer running off track to gain an advantage?

    6. spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey)
      22nd July 2012, 17:03

      Not at all. He overtook off the track, didn’t had the place back so paid the penalty. Absolutely the right decision by the stewards.

    7. I think that also would have been unfair. Taking regulations by letter this penalty is right, but when Vettel exited the track out of the hairpin, he was alongside Button. I doubt the tarmac run-off offers more grip than the race track, however Vettel had a better acceleration than Button, who lost traction coming out of the corner and lost the position. Vettel gained no advantage unfairly, it was Button who lost a position because of a mistake on his own part. True, Vettel was not on track, but had Button left the space for him on the track the outcome wouldn’t have been different.

      1. Taking regulations by letter this penalty is right

        which maybe serves Vettel / Red Bull rigth for EXACTLY going within the letter of the rules on the throttle mapping :-)

      2. Yeah, that’s what VET said, but *he shouldn’t have been there anyway* more-or-less grip not with standing. The white line is the edge of the track. Treat it as a concrete wall.

      3. By going off track Vettel was able to take a wider line which aided his acceleration. Had he had to turn in more sharply- as Button did- he would not have had the same drive, and whether he would have taken the place is questionable.

      4. Also, the mere fact of having better traction/accelleration is not in itself enough to claim you’re faster. Button blocked Seb from overtaking on the outside, precisely because he knew he (Seb) had an advantage there and would have easily nailed him if he hadn’t covered. That’s the idea of defending – taking action against to prevent a (locally or overall) faster driver from using his speed advantage to overtake.

    8. @steph He should have let Button pass him back and then it would have only been one position. The fact he passed him off the track (accelerating knowing he was going off the circuit) and then didn’t think he had done anything wrong is worthy of harsher punishment, well in my opinion anyhow!

      1. And no-doubt the stewards had better things to do with their time than adjudicating on a 2xWDC blatantly cheating.

        1. Agreed. I think it’s a fair cop.

          Having said that, can you imagine the uproar on this site, should it have been Hamilton who did it? O.o

  6. It’s shame he didn’t wait for better chance. Now Alonso has even more ground.
    Contrat for Kimi’s 3rd and Kobayashi’s 4th(!).

    1. More ground on who? Mark still stays 2nd, yet Kimi gets closer :)

      1. It remains to be seen whether Webber can fight second part of the season or fall off slowly like 2010. He’s not famous of it.

        1. There were for drivers capable of winning the WDC in the final race of 2010, don’t discount anyone! Even button isn’t so far away anymore!

        2. I doubt there is an equal treatment of drivers at RBR like it is at Mclaren and I doubt they are investing in Webber WDC. I am expecting the slow starts and some bad qualifying some other glitches from Webber from now on.

      2. going into this race he was less than 20 points behind. now he is 34 behind. any driver finishing behind Fernando(who got maximum points) isnt getting any closer. how stupid r u?

        1. I think he meant that after the penalty Kimi is closer than he would have been without Vettel getting the penalty.

  7. Justice

  8. 20sec, the right decision. It is almost equal to the time lose due to a stop and go penalty.

  9. Good. Everyone knows you can’t pass all 4 wheels off the circuit- Button did it in Australia 2011 and was punished, now Vettel gets it too. This should shut Christian Horner up as well.

    1. *Everyone knows you can’t pass all 4 wheels off the circuit*

      Like Alonso did in the last corner in almost every lap near the end of the race? ;)

      1. Daniel Brown (@scuderiaferrarifanatic)
        22nd July 2012, 16:58

        Ahh but did he gain any advantage doing so? I doubt it.

        1. @scuderiaferrarifanatic, I’m sure he did gain an advantage, even if it was only to save the tyres, Alonso doesn’t make mistakes like that, but harder to prove an advantage when leading.

          1. Daniel Brown (@scuderiaferrarifanatic)
            23rd July 2012, 19:18

            As others have said, because at no point (as far as im aware) ALO didnt put 4 wheels off track it doesnt class as gaining advantage off track. Im sure Alonso, the wise hack he is, would have been fully aware of that and was – legally, it would seem – cutting two wheels off track to make up time. Im confident that with Whiting’s apparent crackdown and Vettels penalty, if the stewards had a problem, he would know about it.

      2. DS (@duncstick)
        22nd July 2012, 17:28

        Vettel was doing it the entire race at turns 1, 11, 12, and 17…

      3. Did Alonso overtake anyone? By ‘pass’ I was meaning ‘overtake’ You can’t overtake with all four wheels off the circuit. Track limits however is another matter, it’s up to the FIA to decide who is pinged. In the UK the MSA are really becoming serious about it

        1. But VET was already ahead of BUT comming out of the corner, BUT pushed him outside.
          He made the pass midway corner but BUT pushed him off track.

          1. I don’t agree Button did push him off that track. And even if he did, we’ve seen dozens of times in the past drivers are allowed to do that at the exit of corners.

          2. Vettel wasn’t ahead until after he’d committed to leaving the track.

          3. He only overtook BUT because he was accelerating off the track, knowing that there was a run-off area.

            A key question here is what would VET have done if the had not been a run-off area – what if it had been a gravel trap ? Would VET have put his foot down to overtake BUT by deliberately driving into the gravel ?

            The answer is no way… he would have backed out ie successful defence by BUT… or VET would have ended up beached in the gravel ie overtaking fail by VET.

      4. he didnt pass off the track, and wasnt taking a short cut.

    2. Vettel has overtaken Button off the track in melbourne and wasn’t penalised, Glock overtook someone around the outside at melbourne off the track in Melbolurne, and Buemi overtook someone off the track at turn 4 I think, all 4 wheels off track, and the guy he was racing was side-by-side into the next corner.
      In all instances, no penalty applied.

      1. Indeed, but in all instances a penalty should have been applied.

      2. I think the story in that case was that Vettel had already overtaken Button and ran wide after that.

        Still, Hamilton was given a penalty in Magny Cours for overtaking Vettel and consequently running wide. It’s a bit of a grey area. Not in this case of Vettel overtaking Button though.

        1. But Buemi was still alongside when he overtook a Fore India

  10. Definitely the right decision.


  11. James (@jamesjames123abc)
    22nd July 2012, 16:37

    20 second penalty sounds a bit harsh to be honest – much like Schumacher’s pass on Alonso at the end of the 2010 Monaco GP, why not just switch the positions? But at least it sets a precedent for anyone else who thinks about such a move.

    I just hope that the decision wasn’t based on not doing anything about the Red Bull car earlier in the day…

    1. because it’s punishment. if it just ends with switching position, everyone would try to same thing.
      there’s nothing lose much, Isn’t it?

    2. It was the smallest possible penalty the stewards are allowed to hand out. Seems reasonable to me.

      1. Except it wasn’t, was it. See above.

        1. A drive through penalty is the standard penalty for an illegal overtake. Which is automatically converted to a 20 second penalty when handed out after the race.

          So yeah, technically the stewards can hand out any penalty they like, but this is quite a specific and well known offense. So the 20 seconds penalty is pretty much fixed too.

  12. I don’t fully agree with this, but I understand the choice. It’s a shame for the championship, because Vettel is definitely the main title contender, but right now he is 44 points behind Alonso, I think.

    1. I would say Alonso is the main title contender….

      1. I would say, given the momentum he gained, Alonso is clear favorite.

        1. Ah okay, well in my book everybody is still a contender…. and given his performance Alonso is the MAIN title contender… lol..

      2. Alonso and Vettel were the main title contenders, so this may just prove crucial in the final standings.

        1. Ummm…have any of you actually looked at the championship table.

          Alonso and WEBBER are the main contenders.

          1. webber who finished 8th

          2. @dkpioe

            Your point being what? Webber is second in the WDC table. Ahead of Vettel.

  13. Kimi thinking: “3rd without having to do post race interview – perfect.”

      1. +1 almost a perfect result for him

    1. That is brilliant! Gave me a very good laugh!

    2. James (@jamesjames123abc)
      22nd July 2012, 16:47

      Eric Boullier did say Kimi would be on the podium, probably not the way he thought though…

    3. Too funny. He probably would have enjoyed the drink though.

      1. he would rather enjoy it drinking by himself rather than waste it spraying on the other

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        23rd July 2012, 1:30


    4. Genuine laugh out loud from me!

    5. Haha, yes. Wonder if he’ll let Vettel keep the crappy Santander trophy?

      1. Unlikely since it’s Button that’s got his crappy Santander trophy

        1. I thought it was a trophy supplied by British Gas !

    6. Absolute CLASSIC! Dead right – Perfect result for Kimi!

      Nice one @baburm, belly laugh from me!

    7. +100.
      And did anyone see Grosjean?

    8. +1 ;-))))

    9. Haha, perfect indeed.

    10. perfect line :D

    11. Alex Yoong said that On-Air just after the race that Kimi tweeted “Love the sound of this. If Seb gets a 20/25sec penalty, not only do I get a podium, but I also avoid the podium interview!”
      Retweeted from
      Bloody made me split :P
      Are you theFakeKimi @BaburM ? :D

      1. @knightmare …and that’s exactly why we hava the Twitter Directory. No fakers here:

        If only Yoong had used it…

  14. Andy Redden (@andyredden-on-f1)
    22nd July 2012, 16:38

    Correct decision. If that had happened in middle of race they would have instructed him to move over. If not he would have had a drive through.

    1. 100% agree with this. It had to be 20 sec or nothing 5 sec wouldn’t have been a deterent for the future.

      1. It was nothing to do with being a deterent… it was the penalty dictated by the rules…

        Rule 16.3… a “drive-through penalty”…. last 5 laps = 20 sec penalty.

        1. @marlarkey check option c of your own comment: a time penalty.
          They could’ve done what they wanted. 2 seconds, 3 minutes etc

          1. And for the sake of clarity, fairness and for the avoidance of ‘favouritism’ this option (c) needs to be removed from the regulations!

            How such and open ended rule can exist in formula 1 beggars belief!

          2. Which would be totally inconsistent with the typical punishment for an illegal overtake- that is always a drive through during a race, which is what was given, and was converted to a 20 second penalty. There is no reason to use option c) for an offence which is always treated in the same way.

          3. and if they had given him 2 seconds or 5 seconds, what would happen the next time a driver does this? Same penalty? What happens if Hamilton does this the next race, and finished 5.1seconds ahead of Vettel? Would he then lose just 5 seconds, or more?

            The rule is very clear and has been applied in the past. It’s a 20 second penalty.

            Vettel was stupid and arrogant for not giving the place back. he would have got by on the next lap anyway.

          4. Sorry you’re not getting it….

            The penalty for gaining an advantage as a result of driving off the track is a drive through penalty… as per 16.3 a) that becomes a 20 second penalty if imposed during the last 5 laps or after the race.

            c) doesn’t come into it because c) isn’t the penalty for gaining an advantage from driving off the track, a) is.

  15. Kobayashi best result in F1!

    1. It was even before the penalty! Well done Kobayashi.

      1. Idd, congrats to Kamui. He has had some awful look this year. The qualifying wasn’t great but he had a good race and the 4th place is a nice reward. I still believe his car has the potential to win. He just needs a perfect weekend, which i can confidently say he’s never had to date. It’s coming tho… I can feel it.

  16. Serves him right….

  17. The only right decision.

  18. Hamilton should get a penalty for unlapping and impeding VET. Had it been an equally fast mid-field team, the driver would have been penalised. You can unlap urself, but shouldnt impede

    1. Read the rule books mate, yes y

    2. He was faster at that point and caught up to Alonso.

    3. @malleshmagdum Absolutely not. There is no rule against a driver unlapping themselves, nor should there be.

      Robert Kubica, for example, unlapped himself from Hamilton during the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2008. Vettel took advantage and passed Hamilton as a result. I don’t remember him calling Kubica “stupid” on that occasion.

      1. exactly what i think. Am nt a mc laren fan but lewis hamilton had every right to unlap himselfe

    4. @malleshmagdum, that is utter nonsense

    5. I agree with the top comment; because of Hamilton, Vettel lost a lot of ground on Alonso, and then also arguably Button, as he would have lost a fair amount of aero, and the time lost to Alonso would have covered him from Buttons attack; Hamilton unlapping himself effectively lost Vettel the race

      1. Hamilton unlapping himself effectively lost Vettel the race


      2. Hamilton unlapping himself effectively lost Vettel the race

        No, Vettel waving his arms and throwing a tantrum lost him the race. I mean, this is a guy who called someone “stupid” for unlapping himself (who didn’t impede anyone, especially his teammate Button), then said:

        “I’m not entirely happy, because I think we could have been a bit better if we were in clean air for most of the race.”

        In other words, he was complaining that he wasn’t in front for most of the race.


        1. He lost something like a second to Alonso in that lap due to hamilton unlapping himself.
          This is frankly ludicrous; hamilton was impeeding Vettel, made him lose a significant amount of time to Alonso, and that lost him the place to Button as well.

    6. Michael Brown (@)
      22nd July 2012, 22:03

      Shouldn’t Red Bull know that when two cars fight for position, they both end up going slower than a car in clean air?

    7. Section 20.5 states;

      As soon as a car is caught by another car which is about to lap it during the race the driver
      must allow the faster driver past at the first available opportunity. If the driver who has been
      caught does not allow the faster driver past, waved blue flags will be shown to indicate that he
      must allow the following driver to overtake.

      Was Hamilton;
      a) Caught by Vettel?
      b) Slower than Vettel?

      The answer to both of these questions is NO. So why exactly should Hamilton be penalised?

      And before you go off on one, I am NOT and Hamilton fan AT ALL! But in the end, Hamilton is racing Vettel in the Championship, not just the race, so if Hamilton can do something that prevents Vettel taking maximum points, and do it legally, then as far as I’m concerned, he’s done a good job as a racing driver.

    8. He didn’t impede Vettel… he overtook Vettel and drove away from him, catching up Alonso in quick time.

      Since when has overtaking been against the rules ?

    9. Was Hamilton faster than Vettel?
      – Yes

      Did Hamilton have the “right” to overtake Vettel?
      – Yes, because he was faster and it’s in the rules. We have seen it in Brazil (2008) as Keith pointed out and in Brazil (2011) when Adrian Sutil unlapped himself by overtaking Vettel near the end of the race.

      How did Hamilton impede Vettel?
      – Hamilton got past Vettel towards the end of the long straight. It was clear from the replays that HAM outbraked himself and got onto the racing line. In the process, VET couldn’t get a good exit out of the hairpin as HAM was infront of him. Had HAM not been infront of him, he would have been faster out of the hairpin and his delta to ALO would have remained the same.
      – As a result of HAM’s manoeuvre VET didnt get a good exit and lost time.

      How should have HAM overtaken VET?
      – He should have waited for the next straight and overtaken him much before the following corner.
      This way, on reaching the corner, he would have built up a good enough distance from Vettel and Vettel need not slow down to avoid hitting HAM at the exit of the corner.
      This is one example of how he should have done it watch the overtake at 00:46 . Assuming that Mansell was much faster than Senna(like HAM and VET), he would have had a good distance to him at the corner following the overtake
      @dutch-in-sweden @david-a @keithcollantine @nick101 @marlarkey @xjr15jaaag

  19. Wow. I was not expecting a penalty to be given out at all, moreso for the intangible factors surrounding the incident rather than the letter of the rules. Can’t say it’s not unwarranted as he did leave the circuit. This sends a message to every other driver as well. There’s a zero tolerance approach to this now.

    1. The message is: be afraid, don’t try to overtake. FIA is trying to make races more dull, there’s to much overtaking this year.

      Now, the punishment is to harsh. Don’t fit the crime at all.

      1. No the message is try to overtake LEGALLY!

        1. 2000’s F1 it’s kind of funny.

      2. Well I think it’s right they’re cracking down on it. The FIA had to do something to replace the penalty drivers used to receive when off the circuit was predominantly grass and gravel traps. The circuit ends at the white lines, drivers have to respect that or we end up with Mario Kart. I don’t think it’s the FIA trying to make the races duller!

        I agree that it is a bit harsh to the ‘crime’ committed, however he was given the only penalty provided for by the rules.

      3. spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey)
        22nd July 2012, 17:16

        Punishment too harsh? Really? He overtook off the circuit. He knew he overtook off the circuit. He had the opportunity to give the place back. He didn’t. Hence why the stewards got involved. Stewards just swapping the places is not sufficient as the driver had the chance to do that and chose not too. A punishment must me meted out that sends the message to not do it again. Personally, I think he got away lightly as a stop-go or drive through would probably take longer.

      4. No, the message is “The runoff area is not there to help you pass”. Vettel deliberately chose a line that would take him off track to make the pass. He could have gone for the inside line, and simply out-accelerated Button from the hairpin, and given the state of Button’s tires, it wouldn’t have been difficult.

      5. Would VET have done what he did if there had been a gravel trap there instead of a tarmac run off area ? Clearly he wouldn’t have done.

        I think maybe something needs to be done with these run-off areas to discourage their use… maybe to give them a texture that slows the cars… difficult I know given that they can’t put sleeping policemen in them or ‘traps’ that might be a safety hazard in the event of a high-speed crash.

        1. Absolutely – and this isn’t even where the cars would end up in a high-speed crash. There should be more of a deterrent – perhaps more gravel, or a street-circuit-style soft barrier, after the apex of the corner where the cars re-join the track. Turn 1 and the hairpin at Hockenheim are particularly bad, and the chicanes at Valencia and Spa have the same problem – seems to be a Tilke design flaw.

      6. Mr. Marques, don’t make yourself look foolish.

        The decision was made by the stewards, not by the FIA. The rules are clear, the case was clear, there was little else to do but hand out the penalty.

        The rule that says you have to stay inside the track is not in place to make races dull, but because … well, do I really need to explain to you why the rule makes sense?

        Moreover, according to a stubborn core, the FIA has been trying to stop overtaking and make racing duller for the last few years. That same FIA has implemented rule changes and changes in regulations, in order to promote overtaking, but apparently they’re still trying to stop overtaking and make racing dull?

        Over the last 5 or so years, I’ve seen some of the best overtakes I’ve ever seen, (to cut you off rightaway, none of them involved DRS). Those drivers found a way around their opponent _on_ the track. If Vettel can’t find a way to do the same then it’s a pity for him, but on that day, on that track, in that car, and in that corner, he just was not good enough to nail the overtake, and that’s where the story ends, as far as I’m concerned. As F1 incidents go, this was one of the more straightforward ones, no matter who is behind the wheel.

  20. I´m not Vettel´s fan, but I don´t think this penalty was fair. Why wasn´t Hamilton penalized in Bahrain? Pretty much the same manouvre to me.
    It seems to me that the FIA knew that RB was illegal this morning but they couldn´t prove anything, so they got the first chance they had to hit on them.
    I don´t agree with political decisions.

    1. Sky showed a replay in the post-Race.

      Hamilton didn’t actually pass Rosberg until they were back on track.

      1. But he had the oppurtunity to do so, as going off the track gave Hamilton track position over Rosberg.

    2. I seriously think the Hamilton-Rosberg one was different, in that
      1) Hamilton was back on track when he overtook and
      2) he gained no advantage as he was on the grass down a straight.

      Vettel clearly gained an advantage as if he had stayed on track he wouldn’t have had the acceleration to overtake Button.

      IMO, if there had been grass, or artificial grass there, and vettel had got past on it then I would say the overtake was fair. The fact he used asphalt meant it was unfair. Easy solution – remove the asphalt, then drivers won’t use it.

  21. Good result, he should have immediately conceded the place, red bull could have told him to do it. So left the stewards to do what he should honorably have done, he deserves the 2 places for being dishonorable.

  22. Correct decision, Vettel must do better.

  23. Maybe a 5-second penalty would have been enough but the pass certainly was not valid. Button didn’t push Vettel off the track and he wasn’t required to leave more room, too. Seb just effectively decided to widen the track for himself.

  24. The 20 second penalty was fair.
    Vettel and Red Bull took a bet – they ended up losing 5 points (3rd -> 5th). Not the end of the world. The problem is Alonso winning, not whether they finish 2nd or 3rd or 5th.

  25. Thank God a year that sees Vettel getting it all wrong!!!

    1. Schadenfreude isn’t a very nice reaction to anything in my view. Maybe you should keep gloating over things like this to yourself?

      1. I have never before seen someone actually use ‘schadenfreude’ in a context that isn’t explaining what it is..

        1. It is so sad that only a few language has word for being happy on others misfortunes, as German-schadenfreude or Hungarian-káröröm. Here you go @alfie

      2. Usually, I’d agree.

        But Vettel, and Horner… Are such b*@%ards, it’s warranted. Whenever anything goes wrong for Vettel, he looks and acts like a scolded child who’s been put in a corner! That is not how a 2 time WDC should act.

        Horner is such a smug little twit, whenever he’s on screen I can’t help put want to punch him in the face. He’ll argue, the elephant over there, “is open to interpretation, so it’s a giraffe. And you can’t write in the ‘spirit’ of the rules, so yes…It’s clearly a giraffe”

        Any Penalty these clowns get it well deserved.

        1. metalman: I don’t think it’s fair to direct hatred at RB/Horner/Vettel for doing what every other team does – hugging the limits of the regulations and attempt to get away with it. Because they are still in many ways the ‘team to beat’, they’re under more scrutiny, so we notice it a lot more, but I can’t say that I haven’t felt similar feelings of nausea when seeing Ron Dennis, Jean Todt, or Flavio, when they were the top of the class.

          I do agree though, that Vettel has not yet proven himself a mature driver when things are not going his way – I find it irritating and disappointing, but then again, I think the jury is still out anyway on Seb, and in particular whether he can actually _win_ a race (as opposed to ‘not losing’ it). Much as I believe that he and Hamilton are probably the fastest over one lap, at the moment, we’ll have to give him time to develop – incidentally, I think Lewis came back a better driver after his horrible 2011, both in pure racecraft, and in his dealing with negative experiences.

          In many ways, I find it very nice that Alonso and Webber, two of the most mature and fair drivers on track, have shown some of the other kids how one drives a proper race and how one conducts a proper fight on track, with neighter of them showing signs of bottyhurt when they were beaten fair and square.

  26. Daniel Brown (@scuderiaferrarifanatic)
    22nd July 2012, 16:49

    Justice has been done, on this occasion. Just because he is Sebastien Vettel, F1’s perfect racer hero of recent years, doesn’t mean the rules dont apply to him.

    A fair and consistent judgement. Anybody else guilty of this would be given the same penalty, so this is fair. If there had been any other judgement, McLaren would have almost certainly appealed, it would possibly have dragged on to the WMSC court of appeal, and the result wouldn’t have been final for months. A good judgement from the stewards, not so much from Vettel.

    In other news, a German has lost on penalties!!!

  27. I don’t think a penalty was required here. Overtaking from the outside is different from overtaking from the inside. Vettel did the same to Button last year in Australia and got away with it.

    Inconsistency again! I agree with @pnunocosta above. FIA just wanted to punish Red Bull for their engine mapping infringement but couldn’t due to their own mistake.

    1. Just because it’s poetic justice doesn’t mean it’s not also actual justice…

  28. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
    22nd July 2012, 16:52

    Good result for Kimi and glad that Button retained 2nd..

  29. He would have never have passed at that corner if he did not go off the track, he gained an advantage by going off the track, so he did deserve the penalty, what bugs me though is there is too many inconsistencies eg Oz 2011 vettel passes button on the outside of the exit of turn 4 but nothing was done i think in that same gp one of the str’s was penalised for passing like that.

    1. No; Buemi wasn’t penalised on that occasion, and that pass was a lot less clear cut; he was side=by-side with a Force India into the next corner, whilst vettels move was done before he went off track in melbourne

  30. It’s fair enough really – a clear rule violation with a clear consequence.

  31. To all you people claiming its “unfair” because of the fact that he would have passed Button anyway, think back to when Hamilton had to start behind EVERYBODY despite being a second quicker in qualifying due to too little fuel, did the stewards say “well a few more litres wouldn’t have changed that”?! No, rules are rules no ifs or buts

  32. Why only 20 seconds and why Perez five places behind in the grid?

    1. @f1sauber Because in all likelihood you get a grid penalty for impeding 2 people in qualifying, and the equivalent of a drive through (20 second penalty) for an illegal overtake in the race.

  33. I saw a few drivers in GP2 & GP3 pass cars the same way vettel did without getting any penalty so the decision seems very inconsistent & the fact its 20 seconds rather than simply swapping the places round just seems unfair.

    1. Wasn’t it was one of the RBR drivers (vettel?) in Oz I think that passed by going off track and got no penalty. This the correct decision.

    2. i would say had it happened 10-20 laps earlier there would have been a drive-through penalty costing vettel roughly 20 seconds.. fair punishment.

    3. Retributive theory. The same reason someone who robbed you probably won’t get away even giving back exactly what he stole. A price must be paid to “avenge” the rule.

    4. GP2 and GP3 arent the same as F1…

  34. I agree. Hamilton should have been penilized in barhain. Because he passed rosberg outside the race track . Fair penalty for vettel but Hamilton should have been penalized because it is basically the same manouver

    1. Tete: Penalties aside, I think the moves were very different. Vettel tried the overtake on the outside, and Button stayed on the inside, and ran line edging towards the outside, in order to block Vettel. At no time did Button push Seb off the track – if you look at the replay, Button is actually leaving some space (albeit obviously not enough for Seb to squeeze through).

      Otoh, in Bahrain, Hamilton was in the slipstream right behind Rosberg, and tried to get out of it by going to the inside of the track (right-hand side). Rosberg went the same way, and they veered from the one side of the track to the other, with Rosberg not actually pushing Hamilton off the track, but most certainly being a lot less gentlemanly than Button to Vettel. Whereas Seb could have backed down without much loss, Hamilton was already so committed, and they were veering so sharply that there was no realistic other split-second decision to make.

      I found the Hamilton/Rosberg incident difficult to judge (and thankfully, I’m not tasked with the job), but I can understand the rationale behind not punishing Hamilton. On the one hand, he overtook off the track, but on the other hand, Rosberg’s driving was not really kosher and merited at least a severe slap on the wrist. Maybe the smart thing indeed was to let it go.

      With Button and Vettel, everything was clear.

  35. PaulyT1973 (@slimboyfatpauly)
    22nd July 2012, 17:07

    Perfect Punishment! Exactly as I was hoping!

  36. Although I am extremely surprised, finally we can see some consistency within the FIA… You just can´t let these things go unpunished… And to everybody saying that the 20 secs. are a bit harsh… well punishments are meant to be harsh, that´s the whole point of it so that you think twice before commiting the same mistake twice! Finally some justice!

    And just to clear something up, I have read a lot of comments saying FA continuosly went off track in turn 16; take a closer look, his front right tyre is still on track and therefore perfectly legal.

  37. * this time ^

  38. xeroxpt (@)
    22nd July 2012, 17:25

    Unfortunate, unnecessary but rightful

  39. This decision is really disappointing. It doesn’t matter whether the rules are right or wrong, nor if the stewards’ decision is right, wrong or inconsistent. What does matter to some extent is that it was handed down way too late, after the awards were handed out. But above all, it’s a killer for the competitive spirit of the sport — if you can’t overtake a slower car and ensure safety by running wide when the other driver uses all the track, that puts a serious damper on overtaking. What’s left? Only artificial DRS…

    1. ensure safety by running wide when the other driver uses all the track

      I think you’ve attached too much credulity to Vettel’s rather fallacious argument here.

      He did not leave the track for reasons of safety, he did so because he wasn’t far enough alongside Button at the exit of the corner to force him to leave room, and instead of tucking in behind and trying to get a run at the next corner, opted to use the run-off instead.

      1. I watched it, and obviously what I saw and what you saw left different impressions on us both. Are you really saying that if he had kept at least two wheels “on the track” there would not have been a collision? [btw, I haven’t yet found a replay on line.]

        But, as I originally said about “not mattering whether it’s right or wrong” (in other words, I’m not taking sides for either driver) it’s the manner in which the decision was made and it’s cooling effect on future overtaking that I find abominable.

        1. Sorry but Keith has the correct take on. It as far as I can see. There is more then 1 place to overtake on the track, and this punishment doesn’t do anything to deter people from attempting them, but reminds the drivers of what they can and can’t do. All weekend Charlie Whiting was telling them to keep 2 wheels on the track, all the shame for Seb for no listening.

          1. As seen on the footage of the camera angle from above, after the race, in the exit of the corner Vettel straighten his car earlier and started accelerating prior than Button and therefore had better traction than Button. Button still turning could not accelerate earlier or as much as he has not straighten his car yet. Or at least his traction was less than Vettel’s. If Vettel had kept 2 wheels on the track it would have been a legal pass. But the fact that he straightens his car earlier, he knew that that he had nowhere to go but off track to keep on accelerating faster than Button. He had another option and that was to lift off throttle and tuck in behind Button and try later. The same happened with Alonso in 2010 when he passed Kubica. Ferrari was on the phone to Charlie whether they need to give the position back. As it turns out Kubica car expired and Alonso then had to take a drive through penalty. Red Bull had that option to ask Charlie as well even if they had little time to the end of the race. They did not take it. They should have told Vettel to give the position back and try again. If Vettel was clever he should have stayed in front of button and give back the position just before the DRS activation point and staying tucked behind button and take clear advantage on the straight with DRS to pass. He did go off track with all 4 wheels and he did gain and advantage in doing so to pass Button off track and therefore the standard penalty is justified.


            Photo 4 is the key one…. at this point BUT is not on full power and still turning… VET is on full throttle commited to leaving the track. He only overtook from photo 4 onwards because of the extra traction of heading straight off the track.

        2. @paul-a

          Are you really saying that if he had kept at least two wheels “on the track” there would not have been a collision?

          I’m not making any presumption about what might have happened had they driven differently. You seem to be taking at face value Vettel’s insistence that his only option was to remain alongside Button. I don’t buy that (and nor, it seems, did the stewards).

          This decision compels drivers to confine their overtaking to the racing track and not going of it in search of an advantage. That’s fine by me.

    2. @paul-a

      Ummm I think that if he was faster than Jenson, he should have waited to get past him on the last lap… Just as Maldonado should have waited for the next lap to pass Hamilton in Valencia… This sanction has nothing to do with safety… it has to do with abiding rules… plain and simple… I agree that it has handed way too late… they should have taken immediate action and Kimi should have been up there in third place!

  40. This penalty is simply ridiculous!
    What the stewards would say about the battle between Massa and Kubica at Fuji in 2007 or Arnoux and Villeneuve at Dijon in 1979, when F1 was much more dangerous than nowadays?
    I think these drivers would be arrested and executed in public!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    F1 = balls!

    1. @Danilo
      I agree with F1=balls but your case of the Arnoux and Villeneuve race has nothing to do with this case… In the Dijon race, yes they banged wheels, yes there where moments where they went off track but those off track moments where in straights and they never ever made a pass off track…. I recall Villeneuve showing a massive display of balls trying to hold position on the outside once Arnoux dove for the inside of turn 1…. Dijon can never be compared to what happened in Germany today…
      The punishment is just. People say it´s harsh but since when are punishments intended to be linient?

      1. I respect your opinion, but I stick to what I have said.
        This is not racing anymore. This is turning into a kindergarten because the FIA treats the drivers like spoiled kids that need to be grounded all the time.
        Let them have real racing like 10, 30 years ago, when the drivers had to have balls and not get on the radio to be whining about.

    2. All sporting incidents at any sport are subject to human interpretation. Penalties issued can vary enourmously from venue to venue – official to official but it doesn’t mean there is a conspiracy or favouritism. FIA Stewards are “lay” meaning non professional and are backed by an experienced F1 driver. Although there might appear to be precedents, each circumstance, whilst they might look similar, are very different in a complex sport like F1. I think the stewards decision was absolutely spot on. A previous poster commented that a “runn off area” shoudl be treated like a brick wall. Years ago, it would have been armco and if Vettel had tried that – he would be dead. By using the run-off, he was able to avoid scrubbing off speed and braking to follow Jenson through as he should have done, therefore he gained a significant advantage. It was not a move to avoid a collision because he shouldn ‘t have been there as at that point, he was not even ahead.

      A good catch and as someone else said, they gambled, and lost.

      1. Well Said. +1

    3. I think these drivers would be arrested and executed in public!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Since when was Jeremy Clarkson a member?

  41. Should Button and Vettel be punished for not giving enough room to Alonso in the parc ferme after the race? :)
    Sincerely, I don’t know what to make of this incident. Vettel used the outside of the track which generally does not favor the one taking it. It is completely different from when a driver cuts short the track. In this case the driver is taking the longer line to overtake, so he must be really fast to make it stick. There have been other similar cases, between the two again where Vettel was not punished, so I don’t know.

    1. Perfect point of view!

      1. No it’s not. Increasing the radius of a corner, i.e. taking to the outside of the track, allows you to maintain more speed through the corner.

        It’s simple physics.

        An advantage is made by increasing the available cornering speed by not keeping inside the confines of the track.

        Velocity = sqrt(coefficient of friction*gravity*radius)

        As gravity is the same, and the coefficient of friction will be almost identical you can see that increasing the radius increases the velocity that you can take a corner. Vettel increased the radius of the corner and in turn was able to increase the velocity in which he took said corner.

        1. Remember Mansell “discovered” the run-off area at Spa when he was driving for Ferrari? It was such a favourable overtaking move at the low speed first corner and also helped to avoid a collision and he was also smart enough to realise that by taking a wider turn, you can ‘slingshot’ past the driver ahead, as the Americans would say. Staying within the white lines might be a shorter route but in a tight turn, it’s not the quickest, ergo Seb got an advantage by using an aera which was not part of the track.

          There were no penalties for that as such then, so they made it part of the track. There are run-offs like this in all tracks, and even at club level, a driver will be warned if he makes excessive use of a run-off, let alone gain an immediate advanatge over a competitor and will be disqualified from the results if he ignores the warnings (which Seb did from the Drivers Meeting)

          1. Yhen why don’t the drivers use that line in qualy?

          2. They did, which was why Charlie warned them not to

        2. @Chris_H That was my point exactly when explaining to the Mrs why I deemed the penalty just.

    2. @caci99

      First of all, I recall reading on this site that Charlie Whiting said that going off track would not be tolerated… that being said, they where warned.
      Secondly, although generally going to the outside does make it a longer distance to cover… SV wouldn´t of had gone there if there wouldn´t of had been a tarmac runoff area. Plain and simple… Do you actually think he would of have tried making that move there if there had been grass instead of tarmac? I highly doubt it… He rightfully got what he deserved… he should of have just given the place back as soon as possible and try it on the next lap.

      1. @catracho504 I do understand your point and some of the others above, but still I don’t feel that it is wrong. Sure if there was a wall, Vettel would have not took that line. But then you have the case of Hamilton and Rosberg and I don’t think that was wrong too. While some would argue that Hamilton did not complete the overtake on the outside of the track, no one can deny he gained momentum by doing so.

        1. @caci99

          While some would argue that Hamilton did not complete the overtake on the outside of the track, no one can deny he gained momentum by doing so.

          Well you have your answer in your own words dude… SV did complete the pass outside the track and by going straight to the runoff he did gain a whole lot more momentum that JB. You can try and justify him but at the end of the day, the move was ilegal, plain and simple.

          1. @catracho504 it is not about justifying, it is about understanding. Anyway if the rules say so.

  42. It was right to award the penalty, but dropping him to 5th just seems a bit harsh. Incorporating a 5 or 10-second penalty into the sporting regulations might help for this sort of incident.

  43. Kimi’s got to be crossing fingers for more penalties like this. He gets a podium, but gets away from the crap of press conferences and all that ****

  44. This is just one stupid penalty in my oppinion.
    There is no reason for hitting Vettel that hard, they could’ve just swapped places between Button and Vettel.
    Also it’s quite bad for the WDC

  45. The sad thing it reinforces the “cheater” badge Redbull somehow keeps getting involved with.

    Mclaren did play it on Vettel, but they help Alonso only !

  46. Throughout the race both Alonso & Vettel were regularly running off the track at corners to gain an advantage. They can’t argue that it was wet or they were avoiding anyone it was purely to gain time on the guys behind. I don’t remember Button leaving the race track in a similar fashion.

    1. Judging by some messages that went to Schumacher, it seems this was being monitored:

    2. 2 x wheels over the line does not (Alonso in Germany) = off the track. 4 x wheels over the line does = off the track. 4 x wheels over the line + passing other car (Vettel) = gaining advantage. 4 x wheels over the line + reduce lap time = gaining advantage. 4 x wheels over the line + decreased lap time does not = gaining advantage. 4 x wheels over the line + not passing other car off tack (Lewis in Bahrain with Rosberg, was off track but passed on track + decreased lap time) does not = gaining advantage.

  47. It’s within the rules so I don’t see anything wrong with the 20 sec penalty. The “a bit harsh” comments are total ********. The rules needed to be implemented and I’m glad they did this time as the FIA has been lacking on it lately. Congrats to Fernando. What a brilliant race!

    1. I completely agree.

      Besides he wasn’t given a 20 seconds penalty, he was given a drive through, which equates to 20 seconds.

      If it happened with 20 laps to go, and the position wasn’t given back he would have received the same penalty, a drive through. As it happened late in the race he was given the drive though as a time penalty, with a length governed by the rules.

  48. It´s a just decision

  49. If this was 2011, i would be happy, but now, i think it is a bit too harsh. If i would have to give him a penalty, he would be demoted to 3rd

    1. As many said before. If a penalty simply takes away what you gained by breaking the rules, everyone would be trying to break them, since there is nothing to lose. Penalties should take away more than what you gain by breaking the rule.

  50. F1fanNL (@)
    22nd July 2012, 18:49

    Well, that’s this season well and truly over… Congratulations Alonso fans for another World Championship.

    1. hahaha did you just predicted the 10 remaining races in favor of Alonso??
      i hope you’re joking

    2. Because he’s one-and-a-half wins ahead with ten races to go? We’ve seen drivers catch up from further behind in less time.

      1. F1fanNL (@)
        22nd July 2012, 19:07

        With superior machinery perhaps. Ferrari may not have thé best car but allround they’re undoubtly the best. Red Bull might still win a few and McLaren might win a few as well but every time they do Ferrari will be there taking important points. Plus, Alonso is the last person whose gonna throw away more than a race victory in terms of points.
        Furthermore, Webber isn’t the biggest threat as he’s far too inconsistent. Vettel, Hamilton and, if Lotus can start winning, Raikkonen are his biggest threats. Vettel is down almost 2 race wins, Raikkonen and Hamilton even more than that.

        If I we’re a betting man I’d put all my money on Alonso now.

        1. I wouldn’t put all my money on Alonso, but with a dedicated #2 and the RB’s taking points off each other + their usual reliability issues for the rest of the season, he is definitely in the box seat for the championship at the moment.

        2. Lol, I put my money on Alonso last year. I didn’t want to jinx hime this year so I put it on Mark- sorry mate.

      2. @KiethCollantine… I see Ur point, however if both he and the car remain as consistent as they’ve been thus far then that seems far less likely

    3. Ferrari isn’t nearly dominating the season like RBR did last year half way through.
      Alonso would have to take pole positions regularly in the dry to call him a sure bet.

    4. @f1fannl
      I must agree with @keithcollantine It is waaaaaay to early to say that the WDC is in the bag for FA. Jenson´s McLaren really seemed to have the pace and if that would´ve been lewis, we would have seen a great battle but Jenson doesn´t quite have the talent that Alonso has unlike Hamilton that can definitely squeeze everything out of a car. Anyways a one race lead is not enough… a 3 race cushion would be a different story all together!!
      I think there is still a long way to go and it´s going to be hard for us Ferrari fans!

  51. SennaNmbr1 (@)
    22nd July 2012, 18:49

    The stewards finally grow a pair.

  52. Gav (@foxtrotoscar21)
    22nd July 2012, 19:26

    In my opinion it’s reasons like this they need to hold off the podium ceremony if there’s an enquiry into anyone in the top three… Poor Kimi deserved his opportunity to go on the podium and Vettel shouldn’t have had that opportunity (due to the final decision). To take it away AFTER the podium is daft. Stop rushing and stop for 5 minutes and get get the podium ceremony right.

    1. Sometimes the decisions can take some time, this probably took more than 5 minutes. It would only create a lot of confusion for all the fans to delay the ceremony, probably even more for fans at the track. It would also create pressure on the stewards to make a decision in a few minutes when perhaps in some cases a decision could take half an hour or more. So it’s better to take the time they need and reach the right decision than to make a hasty and wrong one. I support Kimi and it’d have been great to have seen him on the podium but these things just happen sometimes

  53. I don’t get it. I mean the stewards said Vettel had “left the track and gained an advantage when he rejoined”. The same thing happened with Kimi at Spa 2009 and no action was taken.
    What’s with all these inconsistent decisions? I watched Vettel’s overtake and really can’t see in what place did he gained that advantage, he didn’t shortcut the circuit or something, he simply had better traction than Jenson and that’s why he got in front.

    1. @klass
      There were so many others that have explained Vettels mistake, so I shouldnt.
      But the difference between the two case is, that RAI went outside of the track at the start of the race, into T1. Somehow Charlie Whiting doesnt give a damn about impendings at the start, only if it is a really big thing. You can see how Massa used the outside of T1 in 2010 at Hokkenheim, yet no action taken as it was at the start, so CW did not give a …, so the stewarts couldnt investigate it.

    2. They are always more lenient at the start of the race. Their argument is that with so many cars on track at the start a drive can’t always chose the line he can take. That is also why they are less likely to give penalties if one driver take out a other driver in the beginning of a race and see it as a race incidents. But they have said in some races where they see some drives leaving the track with out reason and gaining advantage off track that they will take action.

    3. @Klaas: Consistency only has meaning in black-and-white cases, or cases with at most a couple of shades of gray – F1 as a system is way too complex and there are way too many variables (many of them hidden to us as TV viewers) to make claims of similarity between moves by different drivers, in different cars, at different tracks, in different race situations and with more than a handful of races difference in time.

  54. All these penalties this weekend and none of them are for Hamilton, what’s going on?

    1. SennaNmbr1 (@)
      22nd July 2012, 19:47

      He retired.

  55. astonished (@)
    22nd July 2012, 19:57

    I think that it is the team/race engineer to blame this time… Vettel was too far behind Alonso to catch up with him, and then overtake, and was on such a better condition than Button that betting on the stewards judgement was pointless.
    They should have convinced Sebastian to give back position and try again later. (perhaps they tried and we simply don’t know…)
    Then they would be 8 points happier right now..

  56. Fair decision. I like Vettel a lot, but that time he definitely gained an advantage.And it’s not the 1st time.

    The real problem is the run-off. It is so much more comfy for them to run wide here, and there and there… There are so many places to run wide in fact, that the track is in fact much wider than we think !
    Why such a neat tarmac run-off at this place anyway ??? If it’d been grass, there would be no controversy.

    1. Yeah, the large amount of run-off is almost encouraging the drivers to use it.

      There’s got to be a better solution than straight grass or tarmac. There’s basically no penalty for running wide at a lot of places now, but grass has potential safety issues.

  57. For once, the stewards did something right…It must have been their first decision that benefited McLaren, since they were invented… If it has been Hamilton instead of Button, I bet their decision was to do nothing… But that problem was sent away with a puncture due to debris of a second rate driver that didn’t break in time and collided into the back of another, on the start… It’s sad… Bad luck comes in a roll… and both McLaren drivers have had it A LOT this season, so for… Hope it changes from now on…

  58. The 20 sec penalty for Vettel is right, but there probably should’ve been a few more penalties handed out for some of the other instances of drivers going outside the white lines. They may not have gained an overtake directly out of it but they did get the benefit of faster lap times

  59. Shocking! Red Bull get a penalty applied to them!

    1. Althoguh I expect Christian Horner has already found the rule which means Vettel has done nothing wrong in the “Grey Area” rule book.

  60. I guess it’s no news for anybody, but the decision puts Alonso even more firmly in the driving seat as far as the WDC is concerned.

    He is now 44 points ahead of Vettel.

    Call me arrogant, but I would be very very surprised if Webber would be able to deliver consistently enough to be a champion. It’s just a gut feeling that he will not be able to do so.

    1. @atticus-2
      I think you´re wrong…. It is waaaaay to early to say something like that and besides, Mark has been showing a lot of consistency… Keep in mind he would have started 3rd if it wouldn´t of gotten the penalty. And also, if SV gets too far behind, I doubt RBR wouldn´t support the better placed man in the team in ordr to fight for the WDC and not only the constructor´s.

      1. I could be. It’s just a feeling. I also did not want to hurt anybody.

  61. Good, he deserved it. He ignored the track limits for most of the race.

    1. No he didnt, Vettel off track incursions started after Hamilton unlapping him. That mean McLaren tactics of disrupting one of the front driver worked. Indeed Vettel fault to let his concetration gone by Hamilton move which was valid but still an unsportman tactic by the other team who were told by radio he didnt want to continue but it was instructed by his team to stay…

  62. to get ahead of webber in the championship all vettel has to do is cry and Uncle Marko will fit webber with a shonky gearbox…if only he had another uncle in the stewards box :)

    1. Weber is a great driver, fair guy, and really sportsman so to make this comment you are just denigrating Weber himself who wouldn’t commit to a team for another year if this case you are implying were true.

  63. 1 Perhaps the white lines are in the wrong places, all that nice real estate to use. Let drivers drive where they think best.
    2 Why are there white lines anyway? These guys aren’t your granny going along the road following the lines.

    1. White lines are there to outline the confines of the track. If they weren’t there then how can you justifiably say whether someone was short cutting the track – for example the final chicane at Montreal – without a defined rule on confining the cars to the race track, the drivers would try to straightline it as much as possible. Some tracks are given large run off areas to promote safety and not for drivers to exploit an advantage, hence white lines are there to define the confines of the race track.

      1. there is not a exploit where there is not a real advantage, that is a biggest radius to go under an slipery LOGO way different from Canada were after the white line you still have same track asphalt. This is not the case. Indeed rule was applied correctly but didnt serve its purpose that is why Whitting is calling for change of penalty times as well. The less cheater of top driver in F1 today is Vettel, if you meet him in person you will know that. He is even the less arrogant of all. Too bad newspaper, and comentarist manipulate the way the question someone to get an scandal of everything just to sell more

        1. I never said Vettel was a cheater. I merely explained in logical sense why race tracks have white lines. It’s quite clear you’re a Vettel fan and your comments on this matter is somewhat biased.

  64. Perhaps if He hadn`t of waved He`s arms around while being unlapped by Hamilton He would of been a metre or two further down the road when Button emerged from the pits……….( tounge in cheek :-)
    Seriously though if He hadn`t of got a penalty for that then I dont know what you would get one for. After Spa 08 it was a no brainer, why wern`t the pit wall on to VET to tell Him to give the position back.
    10 seconds for VET an 10 seconds for the team for pushing the envelope of sportmanship…

    1. I agree. The guy is still immature, it didn’t even cross his mind what he’d done at the time, its the new generation. Alonso, Webber, Button, Raikkonen- in the same situation he would have handed the place back and tried again.

  65. Yes, it’s a harsh penalty, but just look at the result before the penalty was applied – Vettel finished three seconds behind Button. If he had given the position back the way he should have, Vettel could have re-passed Button by the end of the race, and he would have 18 World Championship points instead of the 8 he has now.

    1. The same happened with Alonso in 2010 when he passed Kubica. Ferrari was on the phone to Charlie whether they need to give the position back. As it turns out Kubica car expired and Alonso then had to take a drive through penalty. That just after safety car period and he lost many place. Add that point’s loss to his championship in 2010. At that time you said it was correct decision and had no sympathy with Alonso.

  66. All in all, as Vettel likes to say, the penalty is fair.

  67. I really wasn’t expecting the penalty to come down, I could see that he clearly deserved one but I thought he’d get away with it. 20 seconds seems more than fair, they can’t just drop him one place, they have to punish him so that drivers will have a motivation to not do it in future, if the worst that can happen is you just lose one place then it’s worth having a go. It’s just a shame we didn’t get to see Raikkonen on the podium!

  68. Fair.

  69. I like the way Vettel said he was at a disadvantage trying to get traction on the paint , with their foul play engine mapping the Red Bulls probably could get traction on the grass :-)

  70. Too Harsh! Definitely a penalty but I agree with Johnny Herbert swap the places, several other drivers went fully off the track and gained advantages including the race was a racing incident.. end of..
    Having said that, you have to play by the rules so Vettel will just have to live with it.

  71. Daniel Brown (@scuderiaferrarifanatic)
    23rd July 2012, 12:08

    Correct me if i am wrong, but surely there is no good reason in terms of safety, why the Hockenheim hairpin, and other areas on that track, cannot be made into gravel traps? It worked in the 90’s, in all but the worst incidents, and it is the ultimate deterrent against what Vettel did, for the result would have been embeachment in the gravel. It certainly does not need to be tarmac. I suspect the only reason for it being tarmac is because you can paint sponsor logos on it. The highest commercial echelon of the sport dont care about whats better for the racing, and perhaps not even about whats better for safety. If they did, that huge expanse of tarmac would be slippy astro turf followed by safety gravel.

    1. just the way that turn is made doesn’t help racing since you give chances to real slow cars to get away with an undeserved advantage. Now, with Whiting clarification of the overtake rule, called the unwritten rule, still people will tried the same thing Button did and got away with it since you don’t have a racing line anymore when the car behind you gets by your side so you have to leave space/room. So if you want to avoid all this dumb controversies, just create better TURNS an redefine what a race line would, something that doesn’t take a car front one side of the road to the other just to be able to make a turn and give excuses to exploit the racing line concept.

  72. Fair enough decision on my part, I agree with the stewards. It was pretty evident to see. There perhaps is an element of truth in Vettel’s defence in that he couldn’t see behind him all too well but it makes me then wonder if the responsibility should have been laid at the feet of his pit-wall to communicate his error to him?

    Benefit of hindsight I guess…

  73. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    23rd July 2012, 21:45

    There Charlie Wiithings says how FIA is now “creating new penalties system which will have even a five second penalty” So next time when another driver does the same they will apply just five seconds!!!!!!! Keep the rules the same way for all the year long, then change what you want!!! Well looks like Alonso has a whole bunch of luck this year and Vettel doesn’t. Mmmmmm, well Alonso is a great driver WT**** I dislike the guy, but anyway I ‘d like Vettel was triple champion. Probably next year.

    1. It looks like they’ve taken the quotes from AMuS, is the translation accurate?

  74. Relative Justice has been served. McLaren won this one with their mind games. The only reason Hamilton was trying to unlap front runners was to help button by disrupting front runners. It worked for Vettel, Alonso didnt yield and took this tactic for his own an advantage, Hamilton did him a favor at the end. As for Vettel overtaking move, yes, it was the right penalty but it was relative justice. Here is the problem, Vettel already got side by side with Button so as Mr Whiting stated, which he called the unwritten rule, the front driver has to give room to the other car when the car behind front wing get pass the car at front rear wheels. Clearly Button didn’t give any room so what would you expect? Vettel preserving his race line or open up a little bit to avoid crashing into Button, who always does this despite Whiting last comments about overtaking?? The offtrack rule was created mainly for gaining some time advantage by cutting a chicane or taking out of circuit line where you still have asphalt with similar race track traction. There is not advantage passing someone with a biggest radius turn under a slippery surface plus next to grass stage except when if you car is way faster. In Hamilton vs Rosberg, Withing said neither driver was penalized because they accepted the following premises: Rosberg defensive move was valid and Hamilton running off track when he overtook Rosberg was to avoid collision where track condition didnt give Hamilton any clear advantage over Rosberg. Back to Vettel passing if you check the footage you clearly see before the turn Vettel got side by side with Button, then Button over speeding the turn to get just his nose at front but still Vettel was at his side already but since Button over shot his turn he couldnt give any room, Button fault since it was not his racing line anymore under Whiting clarification of the overtake rule, the so called unwritten rule whiich, in my humble opinion, should be written. Moreover, Button comment over the radio about Vettel passing off track shows he did that on purpose same as Hamilton radio talk to park the car but the team saw that as opportunity to help Button. The abide by the rule book, it was justified? it was a simple case of relative justice since the rule didnt serve its real purpose

    1. What rubbish! I think you were looking at the wrong replay or you have a different pair of glasses when it comes to Vettel’s misdemeanors.

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