Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2018

Ricciardo sympathises with Hamilton and Vettel over qualifying incidents

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo gave his backing to Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel who both avoided penalties for incidents during qualifying in Brazil.

Hamilton was not investigated for an incident with Sergey Sirotkin in which the Williams driver put two wheels onto the grass in order to avoid the Mercedes, which was moving slowly on the racing line approaching the final corner.

Both drivers were at the end of out-laps, and Ricciardo said Hamilton could reasonably expect Sirotkin wasn’t going to try to overtake him.

“I’ve been overtaken before and I’ve overtaken before. I overtook Seb in Singapore approaching the last corner so it does happen.

“I feel there is a bit of an understanding most of the time but none of us have ever agreed to it. We kind of feel if we respect them then if they’re in that position next time they’ll respect me. It’s a ‘I’ll be nice this time and he’ll probably be nice in return down the track’. It’s kind of that.”

Hamilton described Sirotkin’s move as “disrespectful”.

Vettel avoided a grid penalty but was given a fine and non-driving reprimand after he damaged the scales at the weighbridge as he hurried to return to the track during Q2. Speaking before the penalty was issued, Ricciardo said he understood Vettel’s frustration at having to be weighed when he hadn’t set at time yet.

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“If I was in his position I would be frustrated as well because rain [was] coming. He hadn’t set a lap yet so I guess in simple terms they’re just postponing his qualifying and putting him at risk.

“I’m sure we’re going to talk about it in Abu Dhabi now but we might have to try and add something in like you can only be called if you have set a lap. I think calling you to the bridge before you’ve set a lap, they’re kind of controlling your qualifying session, which I think is a bit unfair so from that point of view I will sympathise with Seb.”

Stopping to be weighed can take around a minute as drivers are required to switch their engines off which means their teams have to restart their engines. However Vettel used his Ferrari’s ability to restart its own engine using the MGU-K to drive away again.

“You’ve got to switch your car off, that’s the thing, so the mechanics have to come, start it up. If the weather is like that it’s not ideal.

“I mean they called me in at Suzuka when I had my problem so I hadn’t set a time I had literally gone out and come back in and they called me in and I was a bit like ‘guys, why do you need me, I’ve done nothing?’ And then they saw I had problems and let me go. I kind of feel we need to set a lap before they call us on.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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17 comments on “Ricciardo sympathises with Hamilton and Vettel over qualifying incidents”

  1. I entirely agree with him.

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      10th November 2018, 21:36

      But at the same time, I can’t help but think the punishment would have been higher if it had been Sergio Perez.

      Nobody wants a driver to be disqualified but we need to have a stronger and consistent response to incidents like this because like it or not Vettel did damage a piece of equipment that needs to be fixed

      1. I think it is the right decision by the FIA. In the end of the day F1 is a sport and they should respect the competition and the spectators more then themselves and their procesess.

        If they did that they would not have caused this silly event in the first place. How unbelievable ridiculous amd pathetic would it have been if it started to rain half way through Vettel’s lap? It would completely have destroyed the qualifying and the race and all that for something as silly as a random weighing.

        1. (( Let’s not mention that we wouldn’t have to have random weighing if it wasn’t for Ferrari changing the weight of Prost’s car after scrutineering ))

  2. With regard to the weighbridge, Daniel’s suggestion is a much more reasonable standard. Pulling someone in when they haven’t yet set a time in the session is unfair regardless of the choice of driver being random, and given the conditions like today the consequences can be enormous. Had the rain come on faster like it usually does at Interlagos, it could have left Seb out of Q3 entirely.

  3. You can almost smell the testosterone from that picture :)

  4. Those who dislike Seb or Lewis will still bleat, but I’m with Daniel. I don’t even find any of it all that controversial in the end, to be honest. Vettel might be lucky to avoid heavier punishment (his infraction was pretty cut & dry), but even if Lewis was found guilty I’d seriously doubt his punishment would have been anything more than a reprimand as well, considering Sirotkin wasn’t even on a flyer.

    1. Fully agreed – Vettel could have been less aggro with the stewards, it wasn’t their fault – but his haste was entirely understandable – yes he broke their gear, but he was also beckoned onto the scales with his engine running. Nothing to answer for here, as he was following an instruction.

      You could put the blame on the guy who beckoned him on, but it just shows that they wanted to get the measurement without delaying him too much and were prepared to bend their routine to accomodate the circumstance – he shouldn’t have done it but again he was trying to keep the session running smoothly and made an entirely understandable decision.

      As for Hamilton, he made a damned good effort to get out the way twice, I feel Raikkonnen should have stuck to the racing line and trusted that Hamilton would not swing back onto it, and as soon as he swing around the other way, there is always the risk of what happened – but again, we’re talking blink of an eye, completely understandable. Nothing to answer for with Sirotkin, no driver on an outlap has right of way over another driver on an outlap.

      Good stewarding I say.

  5. Qualifying is almost more important to the drivers/teams than the race these days (Max would back me up here just now I think) so to pull anyone – top team or not – in these weather conditions is asking for bad attitude.
    Seb was wrong to do what he did and risk the marshals safety – but at the same time if your going to interrupt during qualifying then I think you have to be as fast and as professional as the rest of the show.

  6. So Hamilton will not be investigated?

    1. What infraction would you investigate him for?

      1. Raikonnen hot lap for example but bringing Siroktin in danger by pulling his car in from of him. (it was better if Lewis went right)

  7. I’m still puzzled why you can be called in without having set a lap. After all, you are being weighed because you may have set a fast lap time because you were underweight. Which of course you did not do if you didn’t set a lap time in the first place.

    1. I’m puzzled why Ferrari sent out Vettel on red tires, only to change them again at the end of the lap. That didn’t make any sense, given that it was going to rain.
      I must say I don’t like the random weighing too much. It makes more sense to weigh every car at the end of qualifying.

      1. To trick competitors making fastest times with faster tire and then go with maybe “better” choice for race strategy. Mercs and redbulls tried to go faster afterwards with yellow stripe tiers. But could not beat those times which was done with softer compound(Max actually almost got it).

  8. Most of the time the driver passing the weighbridge has done a lap time.

    Vettels scenario is odd in that he went out and straight back in again.

    I don’t see the need to change the process, other than to have some scales where the 4 parts are properly joined together so can cope with a car driving off them. It didn’t look like
    Vettel accelerated hard away from them so for 2 to shoot back is the FIAs problem, not vettels.

    1. normally you had to switch off your engine

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