F1: Sebastian Vettel penalized three-grid spots in controversial call at COTA

Ruben Hill
October 20, 2018

Alonso said in Austin that Hamilton, who could secure his fifth drivers' title on Sunday, ranks among "Michael (Schumacher), Fangio, Senna and Prost" as the five greatest drivers ever.

FP1 was briefly halted when Vettel's 2019 Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc ran wide between turns eight and nine at the Circuit of the Americas, spilling gravel onto the circuit. That red-flagged the session, meaning all drivers were required to drive at a significantly reduced pace and return to the pits.

The Ferrari driver was reported for a marginal speeding offence committed under red flag conditions.

As heavy rain fell in the afternoon, delaying the start of the second practice session, the stewards continued with their deliberations knowing that a penalty for Vettel would damage his hopes for the race. Breach of this regulation is seen to be an extremely serious matter.

Sebastian Vettel said Formula 1's red flag regulations are "wrong" after he was given a grid penalty for not slowing down enough in FP1 at the United States Grand Prix.

"They (the race stewards) were very specific, saying that I took 27.7 seconds to slow down", said Vettel. I saw the red flag and slowed down, had a look around to see if there was a auto potentially stuck in the wall or if there was one around Turn 9 or 10 and then slowed down significantly to comply with the rules.

"They found it took too long".

"I think the rules are clear so we know but I think it's the first time we had this in the wet and in the wet the target is a lot slower so you literally have to stop to 30kph or 40/50kph to bring down the delta". I'm definitely not thinking how I will feel here if I do the job, because I have got to do the job and that just adds more pressure and you don't need more pressure.

He said: "I saw the red flag, I slowed down, I had a look around to see where the vehicle was, [whether it was] potentially stuck in the wall or if there was one around Turn 9 and 10 and then I slowed down significantly to comply with the rules".

"It's going to be wet all day Friday, as far as I am aware, and potentially on Saturday so it is going to be a tricky weekend and nothing is a given". "It's insane to think I'm embarking on a similar number of championships that he had".

"Sir Stirling would say you'd want to fall out if the car's going to crash: you hope that you get thrown out the vehicle".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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