So the FIA have launched their own investigation into Sebastian Vettel’s bumper car antics at the weekend.
I’ve heard reports that the title race was a factor in the stewards decision. Which for me throws the sport into disrepute. A referee does not award a penalty because a team is losing. The 10 stop-go penalty that was given should be disregarded from the FIA’s investigation if that is indeed the case.
Pastor Maldonado was found guilty of a similar offence at during qualifying at Spa in 2011. At the time his grid penalty seemed strangely lenient considering the aggression of his move. Is dangerous driving really punishable in the same way as using 1 too many engine parts?
The stewards handed down the second most severe penalty at their disposal in Azerbaijan. The black flag has seen usage for rule breakers over the years. Dangerous driving has always been a grey area in that regard. What are the rules on that? If using your car as a weapon against others constitutes rule breaking, then the black flag would be appropriate. As it is, I don’t think there is such a rule in the book. As adults, such a thing should come as common sense.
That penalty was more than enough to punish the German, who would have surrendered his Championship lead entirely had Hamilton won the race. The FIA now need to be careful not to nullify a Mercedes mistake. Hamilton’s headrest trouble gifted Vettel the chance to increase his lead in the Championship. That is not Sebastian’s fault.
Attitude and Respect
What’s worse for me was the German’s attitude in the aftermath. His allegations of brake testing by Hamilton were later proved to be false. Then there was his blank refusal to even mention the shocking move he pulled, almost as though he felt totally justified to attack another driver with his car.
Sebastian’s head was clearly elsewhere during those moments leading up to incident. As Hamilton gained control of the restart, the Mercedes did not accelerate out of 15 as he sought to back the pack up. Vettel did not realise in time and drove into the back of Hamilton. The Brit did not apply the brakes. Vettel’s ignorance of this is yet more astounding.
The fact Sebastian Vettel is one incident away from a race ban paints an interesting picture. Ferrari clearly need to address his on track temperament. The continuous radio outbursts and aggressive reactions to fellow drivers are ugly and unprofessional. He is showing himself as a bully and there is no place for such a character in any form of life.
Whatever the FIA decide to do, Vettel has already proven to me that he is not worthy of my respect. It’s a shame, because I have enjoyed his driving this season. He has looked like a 4-time World Champion. But I’m not sure there is any way back for him now.