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F1: Vettel’s rage, Ferrari’s appeal and Hamilton’s boos

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Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix result
  • 1st. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 25 points 
  • 2nd. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 18pts 
  • 3rd. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 15pts 
  • 4th. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 13pts 
  • 5th. Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) 10pts

The fallout from Sunday’s F1 Canadian Grand Prix continues following Lewis Hamilton’s controversial victory in Montreal.

Mercedes driver Hamilton actually finished second on the grid behind Sebastian Vettel, but the Ferrari driver was given a five-second penalty for almost colliding with his rival.

According to the race stewards’ report of the lap 48 incident Vettel’s car “left the track, re-joined unsafely and forced another car off track”.

The report added: “The stewards reviewed video evidence and determined that Car 5 [Vettel], left the track at turn three, rejoined the track at turn four in an unsafe manner and forced car 44 [Hamilton] off track. Car 44 had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.”

Vettel’s five-second penalty meant that Hamilton was awarded the victory – his fifth in seven races this season – and the Briton has extended his lead at the top of the 2019 drivers’ standings.

‘Stealing the race’

Sky Sports reports that Vettel was left raging at F1 officials after being handed the controversial penalty. Over the team radio the German said: “They are stealing the race from us. I had nowhere to go. I seriously had nowhere to go. I didn’t see him. Where the hell was I supposed to go?”

Speaking later Vettel added: “I think we really deserved to win, that’s my opinion and I think the people’s opinion out there as well. It was a great race, they really cheered me on every lap.”

Boos for Lewis after Seb was ‘forced into error’

While Vettel was left angered after missing out on his first victory of the season, Hamilton also felt “deflated” by winning in such circumstances.

The five-time world champion was booed by the crowd in Montreal and his podium interview was “drowned out by jeers”, says Sky F1.

“Naturally, absolutely it’s not the way I wanted to win,” said Hamilton. “I was pushing to the end to try and get past. I forced him into an error, he went wide, I had the run on that corner and we nearly collided. It’s unfortunate, but this is motor racing.”

When asked about the boos Hamilton added: “Maybe they didn’t get the right views… I’ve got to rewatch it. Hopefully they weren’t booing me because I didn’t do anything to deserve that I don’t think, all I did was just race my heart out.”

Vettel defended Hamilton by saying: “The people shouldn’t boo at Lewis. I think he saw what was going on, I don’t think there was any intention to be in his harm’s way. I had trouble to stay on track. The people shouldn’t boo at Lewis, if anything they should boo at these funny decisions.”

Ferrari to appeal but confidence is back

The Italian team submitted their intention to appeal against the decision that saw Vettel get a five-second penalty. Formula1.com says that Ferrari “now have 96 hours to gather evidence and decide if they wish to pursue the appeal”.

“I don’t think he could have done things differently, which is why we have decided to appeal the stewards’ decision,” said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto.

Despite missing out on victory Binotto says the Scuderia’s confidence has been boosted by their performance in Canada.  

He said: “We leave Canada knowing that today, as indeed over the whole weekend, we proved we were competitive, and that fact has been a confidence booster for the whole team.

“We were the fastest on track today and that is important… We know there are weaknesses to address, [but the] season is not over.”

How the pundits reacted to the incident

Jenson Button, Sky Sports F1

“It’s disappointing when there’s a proper fight out on track between two greats, two multiple world champions, and then the stewards are able to come in and take that away from us. It’s a shame. For me, it’s a racing incident. Yes, Seb made a mistake – but you’ve got to realise he’s doing over 100mph here. You can’t just stop the car and stay off the circuit. It doesn’t deserve a penalty, I don’t think. From a racer’s point of view – he had nowhere to go.”

Andrew Benson, BBC Sport

“The bottom line was that Vettel would not have been in the situation he was had he not made yet another error under the pressure of battle. This has become a recurring theme for him in the last two years or so, as he and Ferrari have sought in vain to find a way to combat Hamilton and Mercedes.”

Nico Rosberg, 2016 world champion

“First of all, it’s the same as usual. When Lewis and Vettel are together, Lewis puts the pressure on and we saw the typical thing, when the pressure is on and it’s a battle between Lewis and Vettel, Vettel just makes those mistakes. It’s very clear that unfortunately, it was an unsafe return to the track. You have to return safely, so a penalty is deserved in that case.”

Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Mail

“At the root of it all is this truth: Vettel made yet another mistake. While leading. On a dry track. If he hadn’t erred, it would not have mattered what the stewards thought.”

Rebecca Clancy, The Times

“For me, it was a penalty. Vettel focused purely on the penalty after the race and almost seemed to forget that it was his mistake that had caused it. His mistake which had left the track clear for a faster Hamilton to take advantage. His mistake which left him careering over the track and almost slammed Hamilton into the wall.”

Oliver Brown, The Daily Telegraph

“Vettel has a history of dubious judgements whenever Hamilton swarming in his mirrors. Sure enough, under another remorseless challenge from his arch-rival here in Canada, the pressure told once more.”

Giorgio Terruzzi, Corriere dello Sport

“An unjust decision, and also a suicide for F1. The manoeuvre, in its dynamics, will be discussed at length. But that is not even the point. F1 has become a monotonous championship, dominated by technique and tires, and often boring.”

La Gazzetta dello Sport

“Another wasted occasion. So much controversy, so much anger, Seb also went to remove the number 1 sign in front of Hamilton’s car…”

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