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