Awarding points for Belgian GP “a joke” says fifth-placed Vettel

2021 Belgian Grand Prix

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Despite adding to his championship tally with a fifth place finish in yesterday’s Belgian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel said it was “a joke” points had been awarded for the race.

The FIA handed out half-points for the race, which consisted of two laps behind the Safety Car, only one of which was counted towards the classification.

Vettel scoffed at the suggestion drivers such as himself had been rewarded for their efforts in qualifying. “That’s a joke,” said the Aston Martin driver. “I think if you want to get a reward for qualifying, you should get points for qualifying.”

“What did we do today? I don’t know,” he added. “I thought you had to do 25 percent of the race to get any points.”

However Vettel defended the stewards’ decision not to attempt a race start given the dire conditions. “Nobody wants anyone to get hurt,” he said. “We don’t want to get hurt in the car and we don’t want any spectators to get hurt. So that’s always priority number one.”

“It’s probably not a popular decision, but it’s the right decision for the conditions,” he added.

Carlos Sainz Jnr, who scored half a point for finishing in 10th place, took the same view as Vettel.

“How far into the race [do] you call it a race and how, if there was actually no race laps, no competition, why should points be given or any result be given?

“Because there was no race, basically. I didn’t race, so I didn’t deserve half-points. So I don’t know why I get half a point.”

The Ferrari driver said he hopes the late attempt to start the race, which saw the cars circulate for two laps behind the Safety Car and meant they completed enough running for points to be awarded, was not only done so that the race would count towards the championship.

“If it was done with the intention just to give points, then I think it’s absolute nonsense,” said Sainz. “I don’t think we should do any kind of laps to alter the final result of a race.

“If it was done with the intention of actually running and restarting the race, then yes.”

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2021 Belgian Grand Prix

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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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18 comments on “Awarding points for Belgian GP “a joke” says fifth-placed Vettel”

  1. It’s easy to think points shouldn’t have been handed out if take the narrow view that points are only for the race – they’re the reward for the work from the whole race weekend, otherwise (to follow Sebastian’s reasoning) why have practice sessions or qualifying if they don’t give points? It’s all a build-up to the race.
    Taking away the last domino in line doesn’t stop the preceding ones from falling over; not having a race shouldn’t prevent all the hard work before it being rewarded.

    1. Totally wrong i meant

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      30th August 2021, 13:52

      I’m not sure I follow this. You have to race to get any points. Driving a few laps behind a safety car does not constitute a race. They could have driven 20 laps to clear the track but that should have no impact on results and points.

      It is what it is but every driver is correct in saying that this makes no sense at all. Whoever’s in charge needed to say “No points. Sorry, folks!”

      1. You don’t technically have to race to get points. If the FIA had decided to go forward with a full start in these conditions and everyone boycotted so that only Max lined up at the grid and did some laps, he would get the points even though he didn’t “race” anyone.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          30th August 2021, 16:43

          @undercut677 interesting loophole. He still has to do some laps. Would he get half points if he lapped behind the safety car for 2 laps and the race was red flagged?

    3. I get what you’re saying about the points are for a the work throughout the weekend as well.
      But do we want a situation where quali and the race is rained out and then we have drivers awarded trophies because of their practice result?
      Remember if quali is cancelled, the last Practice session dictates starting positions.

  2. Maybe they wanted to dispell the Dutch Myth that the stewards are always against Verstappen?? ;-)

    1. Or they agreed amongst themselves that Russel had enough “bad luck” and shouldn’t be beaten by a “lesser” teammate in the points standings again ;-)

  3. I wholly agree with both.

  4. In the future he’s the Race Director.

  5. It is just to prevent a whole messy aftermath
    – do grid penalties carry over?
    – does this race count for the 6 races/gearbox?
    and there could be a host of things I forgot. Now the race was run, so they don’t have to think about that.

  6. Awarding of constructor’s points is the issue for me as they are worth millions to the bottom of the grid. It will be extremely hard for Alpha to overhaul Williams now.

    Reply moderated
  7. “I think if you want to get a reward for qualifying, you should get points for qualifying.”

    That made me think, would they award half points for Sprint Qualifying if less than 75% of it was completed? It’s only qualifying after all.

  8. I guess I would be fine with it if it was two laps under green flag conditions, but yesterday was an utter farce. I don’t see why people are coming out of the woodwork to talk about rewarding the qualifying efforts either, it’s always been a maxim that the trophies don’t get handed out on a Saturday.

  9. It just keeps rolling in my mind what a royal farce would be the case of someone among top 10 taking the fastest lap award.
    Fortunately we were saved from that…

    1. Technically Max should be receiving the fastest lap point, as on the official results they don’t count Mazepins fastest lap as it was the lap the red flag was shown on.
      But because of that, on the official results, only 1 lap was run.
      Which brings up another issue.
      How can they say 2 laps need to be run, but then on the official results, they only register 1 lap as ‘valid’?

  10. Personally i think the outcome was perfectly reasonable under the circumstances, Teams got rewarded for hard work in dangerous conditions, it would have been a very expensive weekend for the Teams and some did better than others and were rewarded accordingly.
    I think the FIA have far bigger screw ups to deal with. e.g. teams having to take grid drops for power plant replacement when the damage is a result of an accident that was not their fault. The power plant rule is to reduce cost and increase reliability, how is damage thru a not at fault accident related to reliability?
    These types of rules can make the entire championship (Manufacturer and Driver) look like a farce.

    Reply moderated
  11. Maybe change the points system, N points for quali position and N points for race position.

    Reply moderated

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