Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

Vettel puzzled why penalty decision “took so long”

2019 Canadian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel has queried why the stewards took as long as they did to issue the penalty which cost him victory in the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver went off the track on lap 48 while fighting to stay ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Nine laps later – just over 10 minutes – the stewards announced he had been given a five-second time penalty

“I was surprised because the incident was like five, six, seven laps ago by the time I got that message,” said Vettel. “I think it’s pretty clear if you commit a crime, you shoot somebody it’s quite clear you are a murderer. I disagree with the decision but I think also the fact they took so long.”

After he was told of the penalty Vettel complained several times about the decision, while he was trying to build enough of a gap over Hamilton to ensure he won the race.

“We have a bit of spare capacity in the car,” he said, “we don’t always choose to talk but I was obviously trying to focus. Ricky, my engineer, told me to stay at it and try and build that five seconds gap which I tried but as I said I had to manage also the race until the end.”

Vettel added he understood why the outcome was unpopular with some in the crowd. “I wouldn’t be happy if I was in the grandstand seeing for 70 laps there was a fight on and then we blow the fight with a decision like that.”

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  • 67 comments on “Vettel puzzled why penalty decision “took so long””

    1. Well, guess it took a while to decide to investigate and get all data and footage. And then the stewards clearly watched the footage from all angles, stared over the telemetry and then again. Surely also a bit of debating things, maybe rewatching.

      I think it is pretty clear why it took a few minutes. But it really is not that long a time. Vettel could have known immediately that he might be in trouble and pushed to maintain a gap behind him.

      1. It took way to long, not only this time but in the past as well. There should be a max period of time for giving penalties, like 5 minutes or so (after being noted). And show this timer to us viewers, so we know what’s going on!

        If no decision can be made within 5 minutes, well, then it isn’t something obvious, so let it be just a race incident. The longer they wait, the more the race is compromised for the average F1 fan. Stop doing that!

        1. The incident took place at the start of lap 55, and the decision was on screen towards the end of lap 57. This was no snap decision. There’s also the cam which reportedly shows Vettel glancing to check where Hamilton.

          After the near collision, did Hamilton slow down after that incident, or did Vettel speed up? It would be interesting to know what the raw data says, given how the circumstances leading to that incident evolved.

          1. There’s also the cam which reportedly shows Vettel glancing to check where Hamilton.

            That was AFTER he returned tot the line!!

      2. ..or, knowing that the Ferrari wasn’t quicker overall on a lap, why not get VET to back HAM into LEC (a la HAM/ROS into VET in the season finale in Abu Dhabi 2016). It would’ve been a risky strategy, to expect LEC to pass HAM, and then be able to slow down enough to enable VET to pull the 5 second gap but, in this scenario, they would have nothing to lose. Worst case would be a 2 -3 finish in LEC’s favour, but they would have a shot at a 1 – 3 finish even though VET, as the lead driver, could potentially be placed third if unable to pull out the 5 seconds with LEC acting as wing man.

        The strategists at Ferraris don’t think out of the box, hence the reason they didn’t even tell LEC about the penalty!

    2. I think it’s pretty clear if you commit a crime, you shoot somebody it’s quite clear you are a murderer.

      What… On… Earth? There’s a whole trial process that takes up to years? It’s actually impressive that the stewards can do such a job in such a small amount of time. Sure they make mistakes sometimes too.

      I do think some context needs to be taken into account though, was this said immediately after the race? He was obviously fuming and not thinking straight at all. He has quite obvious and serious anger issues judging by his tone on the radio at the end of the race.

      I don’t understand the statements by some that the positions should have been swapped and Vettel should have been allowed to attack. It’s obvious he didn’t have the pace as he couldn’t build that 5 second gap. It’s not as if he was demoted to 2nd regardless of the race outcome. He had all the opportunity in the world to race for the win by building a 5 second gap – which is a lot easier task than overtaking any way.

      1. What… On… Earth? There’s a whole trial process that takes up to years? It’s actually impressive that the stewards can do such a job in such a small amount of time.

        Exactly. I have no idea where Vettel is coming from here and this comment is just plain ridiculous.

        1. He’s not helping himself, is he?

      2. Agree completely.

    3. Why doesn’t Vettel stop for one second and look at himself and ask, why yet again when in the lead of a GP he drove the car off the track under very little pressure, its always someone elses fault with Seb, its getting old

      1. Don frika del prima
        11th June 2019, 10:05

        Very little pressure? I think you’ve seen a different race then the rest of us.

        1. nick williams
          11th June 2019, 10:47

          The level of pressure doesn’t matter. It is a pressure sport.. Vettel went off the track yet again and then moans that it has consequences. He should try the Isle of Man TT.

      2. I know right? And he pretends like he’s been “robbed”. Was it really that much different when Verstappen got a 5 second penalty in Monaco? He lost 2 places because of that.

        Or when he was putting down Verstappen after Suzuka 2018 for rejoining unsafely. Now he does the exact same thing and the whole world is crazy?

    4. I’ve no problem with penalties being applied as if a driver makes a mistake then there should be a punishment. But alongside this comes the responsibility of the driver stewards to advise a driver over what they should have done differently to improve as a driver, which as far as i can see in this instance hasn’t happened. If no one can say what should have been done should a penalty be applied? Vettel had 4 options upon finding himself on the grass:
      1) do what he did and fight the car to keep control
      2) brake on the grass, and risk locking the wheels before sliding into the wall or Hamilton
      3) turn left upon exiting the grass and risk the car spinning which would put him broadside to oncoming cars
      4) turn right and head towards a concrete wall head on

      These drivers are trained, experienced enough to know how to keep a car under control when it goes wrong, so since Vettel’s option of maintaining car control was the incorrect choice, which of the remaining 3 options was the correct one?

      1. The answer is “5) not pull right after gaining control”, as the stewards already explained.

        1. Beat me to it :) Yea, once you have control don’t glance in your right hand mirror whilst easing the wheel so the car drifts right.

        2. I simply don’t agree with the stewards’ interpretation of Vettel’s actions. If you watch it the onboard in slow motion, yes, it does look as if Vettel moves the steering wheel from turning left to the straight position and then deliberately turns to the right as he reenters the track. But if you watch it at full speed from some of the exterior cameras, it seems clear to me that Vettel’s car is oversteering, drifting on the grass and turning to the left as he holds the wheel neutral, and he then applies necessary opposite lock to the right as he reenters because the front wheels grip the tarmac first and need to be pointing in the direction of the car’s motion—otherwise they would pitch the car into a full spin to the left.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if the painstaking analysis and slow-motion video that the stewards have apparently poured over have led them down the wrong path to the wrong conclusion.

          1. I agree, where at full speed is he back under control? the car is going sideways cos its wanting to spin even when it under control the car will still slide as this is how an F1 car turns by sliding the rear and front in sync with each other. Grass does not have the same traction as tarmac so when a car comes off grass to tarmac what do you expect the car to do? Grip up which it did and if unbalanced it will try to spin out. This section of track is where Panis broke both legs cos once you hit 1 wall the next one you hit is the opposite side which too is concrete. Had Hamilton been closer he would have overtaken, had he been a bit further behind he could have gone up the inside. Just bare in mind that on satruday Colten Herta tried to go up the inside of Scott Dixon at Texas speedway at 216MPH!!!!!! 216 MPH and the stewards went “yeah the car when it hits the apron checks up losing grip causing understeer”….net result racing incident. The stewards are now saying that anytime you go off line or have lost control of the car you now must in all circumstances steer away from the racing line irrespective of what the laws of physics are.

            1. Dale Foster
              11th June 2019, 11:46

              My issue is that ok there may have been nothing more Seb could do to keep control of the car, and the car was out of control, however, that surely means the if he didn’t re-enter the track in control of the car then it is an unsafe return to track, no questions, if Lewis had not have reacted to Seb, and continued to drive the racing line, a collision was guaranteed. What Seb should have done is not made a mistake, these are the best drivers in the world, apparently, and Seb is arguable one of the top drivers in F1, there shouldn’t be room for error, and losing control of the car should not be a valid mitigation for breaking the rules or im would people be moaning if it was Lewis maintaining the lead by coming back on to the track and making Seb back out and give up on a certain overtake!! Too much of this seems to be because we are in a merc runaway season and we want to have a better show.

          2. Errr… They specifically mention the oversteer correction as not being it; After that correction, he has control, and is following the turn left, but then relaxes the steering wheel into the neutral position, making the car go right compared to the track.

            1. @losd If that second oversteer moment is the one they’re referring to, then I find the stewards’ interpretation even worse, and I think even more strongly that they’ve overanalysed the footage into the wrong conclusion. By the time Vettel has gathered the car up again, the car is clearly pointing towards the right wall and the basic geometry of the car’s turning radius dictates he has no opportunity to get the car pointed back down the track without using its width.

            2. @markzastrow The car is essentially pointing straight ahead (=following the turn) until he starts relaxing the steering input, making the car creep right:
              “Shortly after that, however, Vettel has dispatched the oversteer and begins steering to the left to follow the direction of the circuit – suggesting he is now under control.

              But a split moment later, rather than keeping to the left, Vettel is shown to release the steering wheel which allows his car to drift to the right – cutting off the route that Hamilton would have taken had he had clear space.

              The movement to straighten the wheel, which put Vettel into the path of Hamilton, is believed to be key to the unanimous decision by the stewards to punish Vettel.”

            3. @losd I disagree with that, based on the footage. After Vettel’s correction to the right, the car is not pointing straight ahead down the track—it is pointing towards the right wall, as this screencap shows.


              He needs to turn the car back to the left to avoid smacking into the wall, and he cannot do so instantaneously without forward motion.

              I would be more sympathetic to the stewards’ argument if they simply said Vettel had no control and forced Hamilton to take evasive action, and if they had invoked a violation of track limits in their reasoning. I still don’t think that the rules should be punishing or deterring this kind of hard racing, but I would at least wouldn’t question the stewards’ basic understanding of the situation.

            4. @marzastrow I’m sure you both have access to the same level of telemetry as well as the same extra CCTV feed as the stewards AND have the same and/or better experience doing this than they have…

            5. Sorry, I typo’d the handle, @markzastrow

            6. @losd Ha, thanks for the tag. It’s a fair cop! But the corollary is: I’m sure that highly experienced people with access to reams of data under time pressure to make decisions have never inadvertently misunderstood and/or misinterpreted that data…

            7. @markzastrow (I think I got it right in the first try this time! :))

              Usually in those cases, opinions fly left and right. This time it was unanimous. Granted, I have no idea if that is really significant; if they tend to try to be all in agreement before making the vote, it isn’t, but if the votes are more independently cast, it kinda is.

      2. Or 6) Keep the car on the track. If you go off the track you may only rejoin safely.

      3. Try taking your foot off the accelerator

    5. And here we are debating about the two spoiled brats in the superior material again. Borefest. Wish Liberty would find a way to stop this. Used to be a big Hamilton fan, but it is just getting ridiculously boring and I feel it diminishes his original achievements. The car is the winner now, where it used to be Lewis

      1. Which is obviously why Bottas was right up Hamilton’s exhaust the entire race.

      2. Mayrton Actually that car in Leclerc’s hands was half a second faster than Hamilton and Verstappen. Leclerc had the fastest lap. Only way Bottas could take fastest lap was to switch to softs at the end of the race.

        So Hamilton did not have the fastest car, Vettel did. Yet still he cracked and flew off track again.

        Just like in Bahrain where Vettel drove had the fastest car, spun off clumsily and didn’t win.

        1. This comparison to Leclerc’s time continues to be posted as a definitive disparagement of Vettel. You are comparing apples to potatoes. The fastest lap of Leclerc’s that is referenced was on much, much fresher tires (remember, Ferrari kept him out too long on his first stint) with a much lighter fuel load relative to tire life. Leclerc’s pace at that point of time is indicative of exactly nothing as it relates to the overall pace of the Ferrari vs the Mercedes. What you can definitively verify is that on the relative pace of the Mercedes to the Ferrari in the second stint, on hard tires (with Hamilton’s being two laps fresher), the Mercedes was faster at that point in time. The evidence of this can be seen with Hamilton consistently closing the gap to Vettel despite multiple lock ups in the hairpin and dirty, trailing air. Could have been driver or car, but until Vettel hops in the Mercedes or Hamilton jumps in the Ferrari with identical variables, we are just airing opinion.

    6. I must say I’m pretty annoyed by the hypocrisy from Vettel about this penalty. I remember him saying Max deserved his in last year’s Japanese GP for the same kind of action against Kimi(oversteering into him after missing the corner).

      I’m with him that F1 should get rid of these micro managing penalties but in all cases.

      1. Kyle (@hammerheadgb)
        11th June 2019, 8:38

        Max did not need to rejoin where he did, Seb had no option…

        1. +1, more of them need to read this.

          1. @pironitheprovocateur -1

            People should stop posting utter nonsense

        2. @hammerheadgb Seb had an option as well, though. He could’ve/should’ve rejoined from as left as possible, i.e., as close as possible to the tyre barrier/trackside wall rather than jump across the full width of the track straight onto the racing line, which is how he managed to maintain a position he would’ve otherwise lost, and, therefore, gained a lasting advantage in the process.

          1. Kyle (@hammerheadgb)
            11th June 2019, 18:32

            @jerejj attempting to sharply steer the car while on the grass (towards a wall no less) risks him spinning out altogether…

        3. in the opinion of all stewards, SEB had an option after he regained control – he made the choice to drift & block HAM and that is why he got the penalty. He was not penalized for making a mistake. If he had rejoined and not let the car drift to block the discussion would be about the amazingly tight pass when Seb made a mistake.

          Remember Stewards have access to video, on board telemetry etc and know a lot more than any of us see on the world feed.

        4. @hammerheadgb What nonsense is this. The penalty was not related to where Verstapopen rejoined, but the fact that he moved all the way across the track onto the racing line. Just like Vettel did.

          1. Kyle (@hammerheadgb)
            11th June 2019, 18:29

            @f1osaurus By choosing to re-enter the track where he did, Max made cutting Kimi up an inevitability. If he had turned left instead he would have re-entered the track at a much shallower angle and regained the racing line much less suddenly.

            Yes, Vettel also rejoined the racing line too sharply, but as I have said before, my point is he had no choice. He rejoined as safely as possible. Max did not.

            1. @hammerheadgb Nonsense. Verstappen could have kept to the left if he had wanted to.

              Yes you said before that Vettel had no choice and it’s just as wrong now. Vettel could simply NOT have stomped on the throttle and let the tail break out again. He could have rolled out under control and kept off theracing line.

              Of course he didn’t do any of that because he wanted to keep Hamilton behind, but then that lands him a penalty.

              Vettel always crashes into other cars in situations like this. it’s about time he owns up to his red mist behavior and stops doing it. Afterwards he always comes with explanmation on how it was difficult to control the car and then he couldn’t help crashing into others. He’s a disgustingly unsportsmanlike bully.

              Besides, see Schumacher and Kubica having an off on the same part of the track and they have no problem staying away from the wall.

            2. Kyle (@hammerheadgb)
              11th June 2019, 19:46

              @f1oSaurus Very confused about where you’re taking the Max thing, are you saying that despite entering the track almost on the second apex of the chicane, he could still have chosen to be out of Kimi’s way? When it would have been a lot easier for him to choose to head left way earlier and rejoin the track further along?

              Anyway, we clearly disagree about how much Vettel has control of the situation, which is after all the crux of the matter.

              The rear stepped out because of the way the car handled the kerb, not because he was on the throttle, indeed you can hear the revs jump at the moment he tries to use the throttle because the car has already been unsettled by the kerb.

              The momentum with which he left the track in the first place – virtually impossible to safely scrub while on the grass – meant that he was always likely to get close to the racing line upon re-entry.

              The stewards in fact did not argue this but chose to penalise based on the momentary opening of the steering right at the end of the sequence. I remain to be convinced that was a defensive move rather than a final step to regaining control, although I grant the stewards have access to evidence I do not.

              I am not sure what all the character attacks on Vettel are about or how exactly they are relevant, unless you are trying to offer them as evidence somehow?

    7. That headline image is begging for a strategic overlay of the word “multi”.

      1. @ninjenius
        Ha! Brilliant :)

    8. According to the stewards, The Mercedes crew installed the new hydraulic system into Hamilton’s car just before the race, but they didn’t have enough time to carry out a technical control, so they’ve found out a couple of hours after the Canadian Grand Prix. That would be just a minor issue since the new system had the same parameters and function as the old one (a questionable wording of the rules), but Hamilton’s radio communication and instructions he received in the formation lap seems to be contrary to the directive no.11 from 2017, as the Renault team pointed out. Rosberg has received 10 second penalty at Silverstone 2016 for the same action.

      1. Instructions issued under those circumstances are allowed as they are given for safety reasons.

        Got any more nonsense at the bottom of the barrel?

    9. By keeping this very unreasonable blame game going, Vettel continues to deflect from what should really be the main focus, which is ‘why did he Vettel, ONCE AGAIN, crack under pressure and throw away yet ANOTHER, almost guaranteed race win”.

      THAT is the question that he needs to find an answer to.

      1. thank you, this is why he will continue to make the same mistakes cause everyone is blaming everyone else but vettel himself for putting himself in that situation.

    10. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
      11th June 2019, 10:50

      This wasn’t stated before. If Ferrari is going to appeal I think they’ll use this card too (we didn’t have enough time to build up those 5 secs). Bet he’s saying this now because this.

    11. Keep milking it Seb.

    12. Poor Seb, he’s doing all he can to deflect attention away from yet another driving error. He’s never been good under pressure, even when he was winning with RB. Since he’s been at Ferrari it’s become much more obvious he’s incapable of racing at close quarters, especially when he comes up against Lewis Hamilton who’s a master at both putting the pressure on opponents and sucking up pressure when others push him. If Vettel doesn’t sort himself out, he’s going to be looking at an early exit from Ferrari.

      Errors should be punished, all too often the current tracks allow drivers to get away with it. That’s why it’s been necessary to bring in the track limit rules. In the ‘old’ days going off track would put the car into the kitty litter, that doesn’t happen now, especially at circuits like Paul Ricard, where F1 is going next.

    13. How long did it take them to make the decision to penalize him at Baku in 2017 after he side swiped Hamilton under safety car? And when they did implement the penalty the timing allowed him to take it whilst Hamilton was in the pits having his headrest sorted.

      And he’s complaining about a small 6-7 lap delay?

      Actually, to me the delay was consistant with the wait most decisions seem to take between incident and penalty.

    14. All people defending VET against the penalty should understand something, HAM should have been in the lead if VET didn’t gain control and blocked him as a result. Why should you accept VET blocking HAM and denying him the lead and at the same time you reject the penalty that gave him a chance to stay in the lead? For me, VET should handed HAM the lead to avoid a penalty and then try to catch him later with the straight line advantage he had. I support the penalty knowing it was so harsh, but being in HAM shoe, if VET didn’t get a penalty, that is a win stolen from HAM, since without the block and the wall he would have been the car leading after that mistake from VET. My opinion.

    15. Vettel has surely had one of the most fortunate careers in the history of F1 – it’s astonishing how petulant he is.

    16. I didn’t find the delay to be a problem, though. The only occasion when I’ve had a problem with that was in Mexico in 2016 when it took unnecessarily long to hand out the 5-second time penalty for Max for leaving the track and gaining a lasting advantage on the T1-T3 corner combination.

    17. There would be a complaint if they didn’t take long enough too.

      I believe anything longer or shorter than 4 min 33.33333 seconds would be an issue, i.e. no matter what there will be an issue.

      Vettel’s commitment to Charlie to not disrespect officials was really to the FIA and he should be held accountable. He has been very frustrated and acting out poorly the last couple of years. I believe he should go to the same Steward training as VER as a punishment for his post race words.

    18. “Vettel puzzled why penalty decision “took so long”” – and if the decision had been given in a short time, would he have called it “rushed and ill-considered”?

      Stewards are in a no-win situation whenever they disagree with Seb…

    19. Erskine Peters
      11th June 2019, 16:28

      Vettel is being dishonest and deflecting from the real issue i.e. yet another forced error. No error = no penalty.

      He is stoking the casual fans and biased Ferrari fans.

      It is normal for 10+ laps to go by before a verdict on a F1 incident. In fact we have cases where the verdict is deferred until after the race. The “so long” comment is a red herring.

      Again it’s a red herring to say ” what was he supposed to do, he was not in control of the car”. Intent is not necessary for there to be rule infractions. How many defenders have slipped and brought down an attacker for a penalty? The real issue is the infringement of an opponent. Lewis was on the racing line, and had to take evasive action to avoid a crash from another driver join the racing line when there was not space to do so. Lewis front wheel was well pass vettel’s rear wheels when he was forced to brake.

      So intent or not he was impeded.

      Last point, all the vettel supporter please note that when the same thing happened to Kimi last year and he was forced to brake and back out of overtaking vettel’s view where the opposite I e. The driver coming pass should not have to brake for another driver rejoining the track. So…..

    20. I’m puzzled why Ferrari keep giving Vettel the benefit of the doubt for so long.

      He blundered away 2017 and 2018 and he’s doing the same in 2019. Two race wins blundered away so far (Bahrain and Canada) this season. Everytime Ferrari have a chance to win, Vettel blunders.

      When does it end?

    21. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      11th June 2019, 19:35

      This shot makes it look like he’s wanting to finish 21st :D

    22. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      12th June 2019, 0:05

      Vettel needs to be more subtle and careful. He has gotten away with a crazy number of penalties and it was bound to catch up with him. Being disrespectful towards the powers that be as he has been over the past few years is catching up with him.

      He also needs to be more subtle with his driving – he needs to squeeze out drivers more carefully. If he had not pushed so far out and been a little more accommodating on his re-entry he might not have gotten a penalty. It’s about the intent, the margins, and even the driver’s past record. All these things are factored into the decision. He has to be as smart as he’s quick.

      He is his worst enemy at this moment.

    23. when the steward needs more than 10 minutes to decide something like that it means what Vettel has done is actually correct, but being made politically wrong. F1 is so biased towards mercedes. I wonder how other team would feel. If that so, then its better for other team to get out from F1 and let mercedes drive against their own driver, of course if that happens, F1 is no longer world class sport.

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