Mexican GP

Vettel demoted to fifth, after breaking new defending rule

Sebastian Vettel has been given a ten second penalty after the race in Mexico City, which has seen him be demoted from third to fifth, after the stewards deemed he contravened the new rule brought in at the last race in Austin to stop potentially dangerous defending.

The German had been elevated from fourth on the road, to third after a quick decision from the stewards after the race ruled that Max Verstappen gained an advantage by going off the circuit at the first corner. The five second penalty applied to the Dutchman put him in fifth place, behind his teammate Ricciardo.

A recovering Ricciardo was closing in on both Verstappen and Vettel at the end of the race, with his teammate helping push Vettel back into his clutches. Ricciardo made a move on the German, but he was blocked in a similar way to what Verstappen has been doing this season, by moving in the braking zone, which has been outlawed from Austin onwards, with Vettel breaking the very rule he helped introduce.

Although Vettel took to the podium for third place, the trophy was later taken away and given to Ricciardo, and Verstappen elevated back up to fourth and Vettel in fifth. The German was also given two penalty points, of which he now has a total of six.

The notice from the stewards said:

“10 Second Time Penalty imposed after the race in accordance with Article 38.3 (10
seconds added to elapsed race time)

“(2 penalty points awarded, 6 points total for the 12 month period)
Reason The stewards paid particular attention to the Race Directors Notes from the US Grand
Prix (v2) and from this event (point 18).

“Notwithstanding the F1 Commission directive to “let the drivers race” we note the
concern that has been expressed about manoeuvres involving a change of direction
under braking as expressed at the Drivers Briefing at the US Grand Prix and in the
Race Director’s Notes from the US Grand Prix and this event.

“The telemetry and video evidence shows that the driver of Car 5 did change direction
under braking.

“Article 27.5 and the Race Director’s Notes have essentially three criteria that
determine a breach:
1) Driving in a manner potentially dangerous
2) An abnormal change of direction
3) Another driver having to take evasive action

“The video footage, including the close circuit footage, the broadcast vision, both
drivers’ on board cameras plus the telemetry show that there was an abnormal change
of direction by Car 5 and this was considered to be potentially dangerous in view of the
proximity of the wheels of each car.

“The video evidence clearly shows that Car 3 had to take evasive action as a result.
Accordingly as all three criteria have been met, the driver of Car 5 is guilty of a breach
of Article 27.5”

About the author

Ashley Quint

Ashley founded the Purple Sector website back in 2012, later renamed to SpeedMajor which now covers both Formula 1 and Formula E. As well as writing on Formula 1, Ashley also works within the world of luxury travel and was a finalist in the Aspire Travel Trade Writer of the Year competition in 2013.

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