Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Hockenheim, 2012

Stewards investigating Vettel’s pass on Button

2012 German Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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177 comments on “Stewards investigating Vettel’s pass on Button”

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  1. 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.

    1. Also Alonso kept on going beyond the track limits at the exit of turn 16. So I don’t think that the stewards will be too harsh on them for that.

    2. The only thing he achieved by doing that was losing time, some times as much as 0.5 a lap, clearly trying to push too hard. Plus, other drivers have done so in the past with not even a reprimand, let alone a stop/go penalty.

      1. Exactly. Alonso lost time every time he run wide out of the track so he didn’t gain anything on doing so.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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…

      1. Ohhhh I remember that one!! And sorry.. nothing wrong in that move… that just showed commitment and balls by Schumi!! And I agree with @sumedh that was one of the best moves of that season!!

    1. I hope you are kidding!

      That was one of the overtaking moves of the season! Nothing illegal or dangerous about it. Just balls-out driving. Look at how much speed he carries through that chicane compared to Button.

      1. Strange, I thought the S shape of a chicane was designed to drop speed a little, limit the width to 1 car, and that the lines were there to keep cars in, not to guide overenthusiastic Germans to the short cut past a competitor, but maybe I watch too many F1 races…

        1. That was like one of the best passes of the season and Schumacher never completly leaves the track?

    2. Schumacher had some part of the car “on track” during the whole of that move.

  5. 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.

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

    2. 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.

  6. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
    22nd July 2012, 15:47

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

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

    1. First lap incidents are rarely looked at.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        22nd July 2012, 16:15

        Except Spa 2011.

      2. But they still are incidents…

    2. No but I remember Alonso pass on Kubica in Silverstone 2010 and he was penalised for that.

      1. That is totally different from the situation that I have mencioned at Spa and the situation that we area discussing today…
        Alonso cut the inside line at the Club Corner when he past Kubica in 2010…
        We are here talking about an overtake maneuver from outside!!!

  8. 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

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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…

  10. 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.

    1. Denis(Russia)
      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

      1. 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.

  11. unfortunantly there is precedent for this move done at this track – michael schumacher in ferrari a few years back, overtaking people off the track and no penalty. also hamilton got no penalty for a way more off the road overtake on rosberg in bahrain this year.


      3.30 seconds in 2003 hockenheim GP – Michael schumacher did way way worse then what vettel did at the same turn – no penalty

  12. 20 second time penalty for Vettel.

  13. 20 second penalty is effectively a retrospective drive-thru. Clearly stewards setting an example.

    Now where are all those people from this morning saying the FIA favour red bull… ;-)

  14. Well, after all the armchair professionals have had their say, the real stewards agree with the rule book. Herr Vettel was out of order passing outside the track limits. Mr. Button should be quite pleased.
    I suppose Seb will think he is being victimised, on his home track.
    But hey, thats racing…….

  15. Breaking news Seb been demoted to fifth that means a 20s penality.,

  16. Nice to see a rule implemented (rather than interpreted). Let’s hope stewards are consistent for rest of year (forever is asking too much). And yes, even if Lotus or McLaren are at fault.

  17. Initially I believed that Button had left him no choice to run-off but following a few replays it was pretty evident that he was being opportunistic! The cynic inside me tells me that Vettel knew what he was doing was wrong, but owing to how difficult these things can be to judge he thought he might as well try it.

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