Vettel gets 3-place grid penalty for US Grand Prix

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It was always going to be a tall order to kick the world championship can down the road to Mexico because Sebastian Vettel had to place no worse than second if Lewis Hamilton wins the US Grand Prix in Austin this Sunday. But adding a 3-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race just made things even worse.

Vettel was handed the penalty for not slowing down enough under a red flag during the opening practice session. Vettel didn’t agree with the penalty:

“They [the stewards] were very specific, saying I took 27.7s to slow down,” he explained.

“I saw the red flag, I slowed down, I had a look around where the car was potentially stuck in the wall or if there was one around Turn 9 or 10. Then I slowed down significantly to comply with the rules.

“They found it too long. I think it was straightforward.

“On top of it there might have been an issue with the timing, the system. I don’t know. So…I slowed down.”

Now he will start no better than third and that’s going to make it a long day as Lewis Hamilton was setting the pace during a wet practice session.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Rapierman

It’s not over yet. 3rd place isn’t too bad of a start assuming both he and Arrivabene keep their heads on straight.

Tom Firth

So that’s probably realistically a 5th place start with behind two mercs, a Red Bull and his teammate then.

As Mercedes have to finish 1-2 right to secure it here? They can probably control the race pretty easily from this.

Jeff_Hamlin

27.7s is a very very long time in racing, even in practice. I don’t quite understand how he thinks he met the slow down criteria and they say he took 27.7 seconds!!

jtr

27 seconds is most of a sector! And considering all the telemetry coming out of the car, Seb is crazy if he thinks FIA isn’t measuring it accurately.

jtr

Wouldn’t he start no better than fourth? If he takes pole, the three-place penalty would drop him from 1 to 4, right? Either way, Seb better hope that Kimi or a Red Bull has an awesome Q3, because when Mercedes locks out the front row they work very well together to keep Ferrari behind them. Man, this has just been a slow-motion meltdown since Germany for Seb and Ferrari. Sloppy mistake after sloppy mistake. Ferrari has probably made a dozen mistakes this year that are all worse than the worst mistake Mercedes made. What even IS the worst Mercedes mistake… Read more »

Jeff_Hamlin

You had to mention the freaking Patriots – I love the Steelers!!! Loved the commentary till then LOL

jtr

I’m a Steelers fan too, and they’ve definitely psyched themselves out a couple of times against New England. And in the past few years, there was Jacksonville freezing up in the AFC championship game and refusing to play offense in the second half, Atlanta getting way too aggressive with big lead in the Super Bowl and blowing it, the Seahawks throwing an interception on the goal line with the best power running game in the league…Something about playing against the Pats locks up the brain and makes people do stupid stuff. It seemed to me like Seb crashing all by… Read more »

Jeff_Hamlin

All good points, but I happened across a video that kind of explained why Ferrari engine performance increased then dropped off, not sure if FIA did what they talk about but it was intriguing…

https://youtu.be/8Q1gGmU40zA