Why Vettel deserved his penalty – Palmer column

Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer, who left Renault during the 2017 season, is part of the BBC team and offers insight and analysis from the point of view of the competitor.

I’ve been at odds with the Formula 1 stewards before – both during my career and after it – but this time I’m in complete agreement. Sebastian Vettel deserved his five-second penalty in the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver had driven a perfect weekend, until his mistake on lap 48 of 70. But in that moment he simply cracked under moderate pressure from Lewis Hamilton and it cost him the race.

By the letter of the law, Vettel was guilty.

He either crowded another driver off the circuit – Hamilton into the wall on the exit of Turn Four, to the point where the Mercedes driver had to anchor on the brakes to avoid a collision.

Or, as his defence said, his natural momentum took him across the full width of the circuit. But in that case he is guilty of rejoining the circuit in an unsafe manner, as he was not in full control of his car, to the extent that he ran Hamilton off the road in an unsafe manner.

One of these scenarios has to be correct.

If he was forced to run all the way into Hamilton, that’s not safe. If he wasn’t, then he deliberately did it, and that’s not fair and deserves a penalty.

You can’t have it both ways, and you need to have it both ways to avoid the penalty here.

Whether the rules are right is a separate issue

This article is from the BBC Sport website / bbc.co.uk – Why Vettel deserved his penalty – Palmer column

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