MONTREAL • Ferrari have vowed to appeal against the five-second penalty that cost Sebastian Vettel victory in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, leaving the Ferrari driver incandescent with rage.
The German was deemed to have forced a charging Lewis Hamilton towards a wall after running off at a chicane and rejoining across a strip of grass in the closing stages of the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The Briton had to brake and pull out of his overtaking manoeuvre, prompting the stewards to impose the time penalty on Vettel, who crossed the line first but was placed second as a result, with teammate Charles Leclerc in third.
Hamilton was awarded his fifth win of the season, extending his championship lead over Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who finished fourth, to 29 points.
However, four-time world champion Vettel was adamant he had been robbed of victory, having looked set to end a race drought dating back to last August’s Belgian Grand Prix and secure Ferrari’s first win of the year.
He said over the team radio: “I had nowhere to go, seriously. You go to the grass and you come back, where the hell are you supposed to go? They are stealing the race from us.”
After the race, he expressed more frustration over the “unfairness” as he drove his car back to the garage and refused to attend the post-race interviews, storming off to the Ferrari motor home before being persuaded to return for the podium ceremony.
On the way there, he walked into parc ferme and swopped the No. 1 sign for the winner from in front of Hamilton’s Mercedes with the No. 2 in front of the empty space for his car.
On the podium, he joined Hamilton on the top step before returning to his place in second, while keeping one foot on the top spot.
Later, Vettel was more collected though he defended his move as “the priority at that point is just to survive”. Claiming that over regulation was sucking the fun out of the sport for fans, he said: “I rejoined the track and Lewis had to react.
“For me, that’s racing… the old F1 drivers and people in the grandstand would agree this is just part of racing but nowadays, I don’t like it.
“Ultimately, it is not the sport I fell in love with. Just the way we are doing these things is wrong, we have regulations for everything.”
The fans were sympathetic as they loudly jeered Hamilton during the victory ceremony, which seemed to catch him off-guard.
The Briton, who equalled Michael Schumacher’s Canadian record of seven wins, said “he didn’t make the (penalty) decision” and it was “not the way I wanted to win”.
Vettel also called on the fans to direct their anger at the “silly decision” and not towards Hamilton.
Ferrari backed their driver, with team principal Mattia Binotto declaring Vettel was “the winner” and he “could not have done things differently”.
The Scuderia also found support from 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell, who tweeted the decision was “very, very embarrassing”, while 2009 champion Jenson Button told Sky Sports the incident “does not deserve a penalty”.
Under the sport’s regulations, Ferrari have until Thursday to gather further evidence to support their appeal.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE TIMES, LONDON
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