Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

Grosjean and Norris blame Vettel for impeding incident

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean accused Sebastian Vettel of indirectly causing him to hold up Lando Norris in qualifying, an incident which earned the Haas driver a grid penalty.

According to Grosjean, Vettel broke an agreement between the drivers not to overtake each other at the final corner on their out-laps. The Ferrari driver overtook the Haas, who then had to back off more than the team expected he would have to, leading him to hold up Norris, for which he received a three-place grid penalty.

“I think it’s Vettel that made a mess,” Grosjean explained. “He didn’t respect the unwritten rule that you don’t overtake before the last corner.

“Alonso made it clear to Magnussen last year in Monza. Maybe I should have done that.

“But he just went past all the queue, we were all waiting and obviously I wanted to go faster. He passed the queue, came in front of me so that gave me another three or four seconds to wait and that obviously we had not [anticipated] the fact that Vettel would do that, therefore we thought we were clear of Norris, and that’s probably why they didn’t tell me that Norris was on a flying lap.”

Norris backed Grosjean’s explanation. “He did get screwed over a bit by Sebastian who overtook him into the final corner,” said the McLaren driver. “So to be fair to him he only had three seconds or something for his team to tell him that I was behind if they hadn’t already.”

“Us being racers we have to respect each other and if you have a car ahead you don’t just overtake immediately in the final corner like Magnussen and Fernando last year in Monza. I think he did what he could when he knew but he did impede me so I think that’s a similar thing.”

Grosjean said he “had no idea” Norris was approaching him on a flying lap. His radio messages indicated he was only warned about the McLaren as he reached the final corner, by which time it was already too late.

“[It was the] first lap of Q1, six or seven cars around me on the out-lap, I thought everyone was on an out-lap. I can only apologise to him. We are normally very good with traffic, I think, but today obviously we got it wrong.”

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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
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15 comments on “Grosjean and Norris blame Vettel for impeding incident”

  1. If you want other party to magically binding a non-written agreement, you need a blood pact.

  2. Ferrari in “our rightful place is at the front of any queue, get out of our way peasants” shocker?

    1. I mean… he overtook a Haas… which is not only a peasant, but is also a peasant that works at the Ferrari mansion. They knew that Haas wouldn’t complain and risk Vettel getting a penalty. Instead Grosjean took one for the team.

      Not even a warning for Vettel.. wow.

  3. That (what happened before the Grosjean-Norris incident) unfortunately was never shown on the world feed.

  4. I can’t believe, Vettel would never break an agreement not to pass.

    1. *..believe IT,….

    2. “In the end Seb made his own decisions today and will have protection as usual and that’s the way it goes!”

      1. Webber saying it as it is…

  5. Something has been noticeably off with Seb this weekend. I think LeClerc has him rattled. It reminds me of his behaviour in 2014 when he just seemed a bit discombobulated.

  6. If the Stewards penalised Grosjean then they considered him and his team to be the most guilty party and the ones who could have most easily avoided impeding Norris. I saw several video replay’s of the incident. According to one of the TV commentators, it seems Haas usually make no effort to inform their drivers they might be in a position where they could impede another driver from a different team. It seemed to me Grosjean’s reactions were consistent with not being told a McLaren car was approaching on a hot lap and that he needed to get off the racing line. This isn’t a Ferrari problem, nor is it a problem caused by Grosjean, it is a Haas problem. Someone on their pitwall knew Grosjean might impeded Norris and didn’t make any effort to communicate that information to Grosjean. Unfortunately I suspect Haas will blame Grosjean and expect him to pay the fine, which, unfortunately, will mean nothing will change.

    1. I’ve only seen one clip from the comments in another post here about the incident, but it looks like Grosjean had slowed WAY down before Vettel overtook him, so I don’t see how this “gentleman’s agreement” of not passing before the last corner should have worked in this case, and it seems clear to me the team should have taken a much more engaged approach to traffic and managing their driver.

  7. an unwritten rule or gentlemens agreement is not a rule. its an understanding. but no one is forced to adhere to it.

  8. There is some onboard footage from Grosjean’s car at that moment Vettel passed him.

  9. RIC overtaking VET in Q2, also in last corner. Might put some perspective on this “gentlemans agreement” thing that is going on.
    https://twitter.com/antevetmaf1/status/1112294540579344384

  10. That’s too easy.

    If you want something to be a rule, you write it, you sign it, and you publish it.

    Unwritten rules and agreements are nothing and ought to be nothing.

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