In Abu Dhabi yet more traffic antics occurred and while the venue changed, Sebastian Vettel said the culprits had not.
With Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina track now faster and more flowing, drivers found themselves in that familiar situation of becoming bunched up as they prepared for a flying lap, the height of that jam coming in the closing stages of Q2.
In that scenario there is supposed to be a gentleman’s agreement in Formula 1 whereby the drivers do not skip the line and ruin the preparations of another driver.
It is rarely adhered to though, and Aston Martin’s Vettel said that was the case again in Abu Dhabi with the four-time former World Champion finding himself being part of two stewards’ investigations.
The first one saw Esteban Ocon reprimanded for impeding Vettel during Q1, while Ocon’s Alpine team received a fine of €10,000, while in the second case Vettel was cleared of obstructing Pierre Gasly.
Vettel was eliminated in Q2 and is set to start the final race of the season from P15.
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) December 11, 2021
Speaking to reporters in the paddock, he said: “It’s bad when you have so many cars in the same spot.
“And it’s always the same people jumping the queue, but they always get away with it so I guess they have a reason.
“I tried to go back and use the time but the tyres cooled down too much – more than I thought – and the lap was gone.
“We were stopping for like half a minute, so it didn’t help them.”
Of course, as is often mentioned in Formula 1, the points are given out on Sunday to the top 10, which means Vettel has the opportunity to turn around his frustrating Saturday.
However, he was not giving much away over whether he could do so.
Asked if he has the race pace to gain places, Vettel replied: “I don’t know.
“We’ll see. We’ll try and hopefully overtake a couple of cars and then have a good race.”
Vettel’s team-mate Lance Stroll said he was at the front of that queue in qualifying and so he was able to escape all of that drama, ultimately qualifying P13.
“It wasn’t too bad for me, I think I was at the front of the queue,” he said.
“So it wasn’t as bad. I think maybe we had another tenth, but that was kind of our pace.”