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F1 News: Ferrari to appeal Vettel's penalty

George Howson
ANALYST
News
10 Jun 2019, 14:49 IST

Lewis Hamilton was classified as the winner after Vettel's penalty was applied.
Lewis Hamilton was classified as the winner after Vettel's penalty was applied.

After Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix, one question is on the minds of Formula 1 fans and will be debated in online forums, social media and around water coolers at workplaces around the world.

Should Sebastian Vettel, the man who crossed the line first in Montreal, have been given a penalty for a "dangerous re-entry to the track"? The stewards at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve certainly believed so, slapping the German with a 5 second time penalty, which dropped Seb from race winner to second place.

However, Vettel and his Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto believe otherwise, and they have announced that they will appeal against the decision.

What happened and what should be done?

Hamilton chased Vettel all race but was unable to overtake.
Hamilton chased Vettel all race but was unable to overtake.

On Lap 48 of 70, Vettel lost control of his rear end going into Turn 3 and ran onto the grass on the inside of the corner. Turns 3 and 4 are a chicane and Vettel rejoined on the racing line to attempt to clean his tyres of the grass and dirt that he picked up off the track. Hamilton had serious momentum and tried to go between the Ferrari and the outside wall to overtake but there wasn't enough room to do so.

This is the point that's in contention, as the rules state that you have to leave a car's width for another driver to use, otherwise it's deemed to be "dangerous driving". In the words of Fernando Alonso, "You have to leave the space, all the time you have to leave a space".

However, this isn't that simple, because if Vettel was given a penalty, so should Sergio Perez when overtaking Romain Grosjean, and just about every offensive and defensive move we saw on Sunday. Vettel had to defend his spot, and Hamilton would've done exactly the same- it's why we love motorsport.

If you punish drivers for this, we'll have a situation where everybody can't overtake for fear of getting hit with a punishment. This isn't a case of this being a Verstappe-style move either, as Vettel left enough space for Hamilton to run into- there only ever would've been a crash if Lewis failed to brake.

Binotto feels this way too, stating the following post-race: "He didn't have any bad intentions there, he stayed ahead the entire race he took the chequered flag for us, he is the winner. You cannot take it further, he was driving at the limit in each corner, and we are on the border line of the tyres. When he was coming back on the track he went on the grass and there was nothing he could do."

Regardless, though, the stewards have said in recent times that they will only penalise a driver if they are clearly at fault, and personally, I can't see how this is a black or white scenario- this is as clear as mud.

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