Angry Vettel drops to fifth after 10-second penalty


Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has been handed a ten-second time penalty meaning Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo has been promoted to third place.

The penalty came after the German was investigated by stewards for potential dangerous driving while defending fourth place against Ricciardo in the closing laps of the Mexican Grand Prix.

Vettel and Ricciardo had already benefitted from a five second penalty handed down to Max Verstappen, who was judged to have gained an advantaging by cutting the track while defending against the Ferrari driver.

The same incident led to Vettel’s penalty, as the three drivers were bunched up going into Turn 4. Ricciardo attempted a move up the inside, only for the German to move over in the braking zone. The two rubbed wheels but both exited the corner unscathed.

The move was judged to be dangerous and Vettel was slapped with a ten second time penalty, elevating the Aussie to the podium even though he crossed the line in fifth.

The German was also handed two penalty points.

“The video footage… plus the telemetry shows that there was an abnormal change of direction by Car 5 and this was considered potentially dangerous in view of the proximity of the wheels of each car,” the stewards’ report said.

The new rule about ‘moving under braking’ was introduced by FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting ahead of the US Grand Prix after Verstappen had been accused of defending second place in a dangerous manner from Lewis Hamilton at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Vettel had welcomed the new rule, saying it had always been an “unwritten law” in Formula 1.

Following his penalty, Verstappen slammed the verdict and told Vettel to “go back to school”. His Red Bull teammate Ricciardo also got involved, accusing Vettel of ‘moving under braking’.

During the race, Vettel was heard saying on the radio about Verstappen: “He’s a ****. That’s what he is. Am I the only one or are you not seeing what I’m seeing?”

Then, when a Ferrari engineer said that Whiting was looking into the incident. Vettel could be heard saying, “Yeah? Here’s a message to Charlie: f*** off. Honestly, f*** off.”

Vettel will likely face punishment over his outburst by the sport’s governing body after speaking about the race director in such a manner.

Back in the pits,Vettel said that he had been to see Verstappen to talk to the 19-year-old.

“I had reason to be angry,” Vettel said.

“I went immediately to see him. Out of respect I went to him and told him what I did. I think he is aware and that is it,” he added.