Stewards investigating Vettel’s pass on Button

2012 German Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Hockenheim, 2012The German Grand Prix stewards are looking into whether Sebastian Vettel’s pass on Jenson Button was legal.

Vettel passed Button for second place on the penultimate lap of the race.

Vettel had a run on Button as they approached the Spitzkehre hairpin and the McLaren driver covered the inside line. As they exited the corner Vettel used the tarmac run-off at the exit of the corner, rejoining the track ahead of the McLaren driver.

Speaking to his team on the radio after the race Button said: “I’m not sure that was correct the way Sebastian got past.

“I think the most important thing is he wouldn’t have overtaken me if he was on the circuit.”

Speaking on the podium after the race Vettel said he was unsure if Button’s car was still on the inside of his. Button finished the race third behind Vettel.

Update: Vettel demoted to fifth with 20-second penalty

2012 German Grand Prix

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177 comments on Stewards investigating Vettel’s pass on Button

  1. Ciaran (@ciaran) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:07

    For a reference to the past, this is a pass Schumacher made on Jarno Trulli in the exact same way at the same corner 9 years ago. No penalty given. http://youtu.be/GlbFQKuFkrQ?t=2m45s

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:14

      Hmm, it’s similar but I think there’s a little difference here. Jarno never give him space but Button tried to avoid crash with him.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:26

      @ciaran Ah, that’s the move I was thinking of but couldn’t put names too.

      As I recall, Schumacher wasn’t penalised for that but later dropped back with a puncture, possibly incurred when he went off the track.

      Interesting to note he was further behind Trulli coming out of the corner than Vettel was behind Button.

      • Ciaran (@ciaran) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:32

        Yeah you’re right, he had a puncture 4 laps before the end (or something like that), caused by heavy tyre wear in the extreme heat, but it was accelerated by picking up debris off the track.

        Very true about the positioning of his car before the move as well. What I find interesting is that Schumacher rejoined the track side-by-side with Trulli, whereas Vettel emerged right ahead of Button. I think that might be a decisive factor in the investigation.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:09

      They changed the rules when Hamilton overtook Raikkonen at Spa 2008. Or at least they set a new more strict precedent.

      You can find plenty things that drivers did not get penalised for a decade ago, but they do get a penalty for it now.

  2. Eggry (@eggry) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:15

    If there’s penalty, Alonso will smile much more.

  3. necrodethmortem (@necrodethmortem) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:17

    Hamilton’s fault!

    If he hadn’t unlapped himself earlier, Button would’ve never gotten ahead of Vettel in the first place!!!1

  4. Joe Jones said on 22nd July 2012, 15:20

    a significant part of vettels car was alongside jensons, jenson left no room on the track for vettels car. button should get a penalty! over and out.

    • necrodethmortem (@necrodethmortem) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:24

      Not sure if serious…

      There was plenty of room, all he had to do was wait a bit to get back on the throttle.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:27

      Jenson left no room on the track for Vettel’s car

      He’s not required to. Button certainly did nothing wrong.

      • F1fanNL (@) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:39

        If the overtaking car has a significant part alongside the other car the defending car must leave enough room. Vettel was completely side by side with Button.

        Vettel did leave the track before Button crowded him off the track however.

        • Joe Jones said on 22nd July 2012, 15:43

          i think you are right f1fannl, im just sure that red bull will argue that jensons trajectory is what vettel had imagined it would be (as he couldnt see him) and if he hadnt have left the track there would have been contact

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:46

          @f1fannl As I see it, Button and Vettel were not on a straight between braking zones, so this does not apply:

          Any driver defending his position on a straight and before any braking area, may use the full width of the track during his first move provided no significant portion of the car attempting to pass is alongside his

          See here for more: FIA issues new clarification on defensive driving

          • F1fanNL (@) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:54

            They would have been if Vettel had staid on track but as I said, Vettel already left the track before Button could crowd him off.

    • Abuelo Paul (@abuello-paul) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:37

      der, you must have a different rule book.

  5. Olivier42 (@olivier42) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:23

    Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel are set to appear in front of the stewards in 15 minutes

  6. maxthecat said on 22nd July 2012, 15:27

    Vettel constantly ignored the track limits throughout the whole race and should have been given a stop/go as Charlie Whiting said they would. He then passed Button off track to compound the issue and it would seem as usual that Red Bull will get away with it.

  7. I think Vettel should have to give up the second place for Button, when a driver past someone on the outside you should always ask “would he had passed if there were grass/gravel on the outside” and he could probably had passed Button by taking higher ground in the corner and then taking Button on the acceleration point or on the next lap.

    Short note about the ‘Hamilton discussion':
    A quicker driver is always allowed to pass, even the leaders of the race.

  8. PaulG said on 22nd July 2012, 15:31

    I would be really surprised if any penalty was given. It’s Vettel and he drives for Red Bull. Like I said I’d be really surpirised. Golden boy and golden team.

  9. Abuelo Paul (@abuello-paul) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:34

    Schumacher passed Button at Monza in a chicane, putting all 4 wheels marginally outside the white lines, quite aggressive and almost dangerous, with no inquest. It seems to depend where you are in the pecking order of the year…

  10. Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:35

    It was a clean pass. Beautiful overtaking, and here we are debating rule books. I can only imagine what would have happened with Villleneuve and Arnoux if that epic battle occurred in these days.

    • Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:41

      Then imagine a concrete wall instead of a tarmac run-off. Is your “clean pass” even remotely possible now?

    • Chris_H said on 22nd July 2012, 15:45

      No it wasn’t a beautiful pass. Kimi’s pass on di Resta earlier in the race was an example of a beautiful overtake, where both drivers respected the track limits and the rules.

      I think it’s clear Vettel elected to go off track rather than back out, and in doing so gained an unfair advantage.

      If he is given a penalty is a whole different ball game though as has been shown by the FIA and the stewards recently.

  11. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 22nd July 2012, 15:47

    When it comes to penalties, Germans always come out on top.

  12. Alonso, Spa, 2007, La Source, first lap…anyone remembers?

  13. molino (@molino) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:05

    I dont think the stewards will base their judgment on the past similar incident. everything done in the past is done and I think their decisions and changes are for the best of the sport right now and they have to carry on even though it’s impossible to be 100% fair and consistent for a race steward in this sports

  14. Rich Lloyd said on 22nd July 2012, 16:14

    The bit I hate are the excuses from driver (slippery paint, ran me off road) & attempts at deflection from Team members (yes but look what Hamilton did (cough..ahem.. perfectly legally..)). Do they think all F1 fans are blind? Or stupid? Treat us like adults and admit when you messed up. We love the ‘sport’ but you tarnish it with this cheap spin.

    • sumedh said on 22nd July 2012, 16:20

      As long as the stewards have not said anything, who is to say that Red Bull have “messed up”?

      The Red Bull principal and driver are perfectly allowed to say what they feel when they are being interviewed.
      Felipe, after the 2010 German Grand Prix said, “I had a problem with the gears and Alonso passed me”.
      There are no FIA rules governing what the team says after the race is done.

      • Rich Lloyd said on 22nd July 2012, 17:07

        Contrast Jensons ‘I don’t think I should comment’ with the alternative approach from Red Bull. Apologies for thinking that sportsmanship and honesty have any place in this modern World…

  15. On one hand: Vettel’s move was indeed a bit over the edge of the rulebook there. True. And given the FIA’s attitude towards similar moves in the past, a reaction from the stewards seems in order.

    On the other hand: I’m sick and tired of seeing penalties thrown all over the place by the FIA for the smallest infringements or for moves that, despite being at the limit, have no impact on the other drivers’ races / quali sessions etc.

    At this rate, soon we’re gonna have races with 100% clean DRS passes everywhere on track, races in which the slightest move in the steering wheel or going an inch over the line will get reported as waving, impeding or overtaking off the track. And no one will talk strategies over the radio ever again. There shall be only whining and complaining.

    I say let the guys race as hard as they can if their actions on track:
    – are not BLATANT infringements of the rules;
    – do not influence the other drivers’ races (for example, in this particular case there was no impeding, holding back or anything else as Vettel was quicker than Button and would have passed him anyway);
    – are not putting themselves, the other drivers, the crews, the stewards or the spectators in danger.

    • Denis(Russia) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:41

      totally agree!! let them racing each other on the limit! let the real racing started!
      DRS overtakes isn’t good as they seemed to be. you can overtake without a fight. on the other hand, you can’t overtake at all. today Jenson hopelessly have been trying to catch up Alonso for instance.

      i hope for “no further action”. that’s would be pretty much fair for RB today. indistinct engine mapping investigation, stupid unlaping by hamilton on vettel. what he was thinking about? to spoil the battle for 1st position? to take a 18th place in the race or maybe to hold up vettel? and for a starter, this overtaking manoeuvre. oo, i love FIA and very uncertain things

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:44

        let them racing each other on the limit

        They can – “the limit” is the boundaries of the track. Vettel exceeded them, which is why he’s been penalised.

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