Vettel demoted to fifth with 20-second penalty

2012 German Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Hockenheim, 2012Sebastian Vettel has been given a 20-second penalty for passing Jenson Button off the track during the German Grand Prix.

The penalty, for breach of article 20.2 of the sporting regulations, drops Vettel to fifth in the race.

The stewards determined Vettel had “left the track and gained an advantage when he rejoined”. He was given a drive-through penalty which, because it was awarded after the race, became a 20-second penalty.

Button moves up to second with Kimi Raikkonen promoted to third ahead of Kamui Kobayashi.

2012 German Grand Prix

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269 comments on Vettel demoted to fifth with 20-second penalty

  1. LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:39

    Serves him right….

  2. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:41

    The only right decision.

  3. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:42

    Hamilton should get a penalty for unlapping and impeding VET. Had it been an equally fast mid-field team, the driver would have been penalised. You can unlap urself, but shouldnt impede

    • dutch in sweden (@dutch-in-sweden) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:44

      Read the rule books mate, yes y

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:46

      He was faster at that point and caught up to Alonso.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:46

      @malleshmagdum Absolutely not. There is no rule against a driver unlapping themselves, nor should there be.

      Robert Kubica, for example, unlapped himself from Hamilton during the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2008. Vettel took advantage and passed Hamilton as a result. I don’t remember him calling Kubica “stupid” on that occasion.

      • yrr said on 22nd July 2012, 17:24

        exactly what i think. Am nt a mc laren fan but lewis hamilton had every right to unlap himselfe

    • Malibu_GP said on 22nd July 2012, 19:45

      @malleshmagdum, that is utter nonsense

    • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 22nd July 2012, 21:34

      I agree with the top comment; because of Hamilton, Vettel lost a lot of ground on Alonso, and then also arguably Button, as he would have lost a fair amount of aero, and the time lost to Alonso would have covered him from Buttons attack; Hamilton unlapping himself effectively lost Vettel the race

      • John H (@john-h) said on 22nd July 2012, 22:18

        Hamilton unlapping himself effectively lost Vettel the race


      • grat said on 23rd July 2012, 3:53

        Hamilton unlapping himself effectively lost Vettel the race

        No, Vettel waving his arms and throwing a tantrum lost him the race. I mean, this is a guy who called someone “stupid” for unlapping himself (who didn’t impede anyone, especially his teammate Button), then said:

        “I’m not entirely happy, because I think we could have been a bit better if we were in clean air for most of the race.”

        In other words, he was complaining that he wasn’t in front for most of the race.


        • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 23rd July 2012, 9:17

          He lost something like a second to Alonso in that lap due to hamilton unlapping himself.
          This is frankly ludicrous; hamilton was impeeding Vettel, made him lose a significant amount of time to Alonso, and that lost him the place to Button as well.

    • Michael Brown (@) said on 22nd July 2012, 22:03

      Shouldn’t Red Bull know that when two cars fight for position, they both end up going slower than a car in clean air?

    • Nick (@nick101) said on 22nd July 2012, 22:55

      Section 20.5 states;

      As soon as a car is caught by another car which is about to lap it during the race the driver
      must allow the faster driver past at the first available opportunity. If the driver who has been
      caught does not allow the faster driver past, waved blue flags will be shown to indicate that he
      must allow the following driver to overtake.

      Was Hamilton;
      a) Caught by Vettel?
      b) Slower than Vettel?

      The answer to both of these questions is NO. So why exactly should Hamilton be penalised?

      And before you go off on one, I am NOT and Hamilton fan AT ALL! But in the end, Hamilton is racing Vettel in the Championship, not just the race, so if Hamilton can do something that prevents Vettel taking maximum points, and do it legally, then as far as I’m concerned, he’s done a good job as a racing driver.

    • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 23rd July 2012, 10:13

      He didn’t impede Vettel… he overtook Vettel and drove away from him, catching up Alonso in quick time.

      Since when has overtaking been against the rules ?

    • Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 23rd July 2012, 15:31

      Was Hamilton faster than Vettel?
      – Yes

      Did Hamilton have the “right” to overtake Vettel?
      – Yes, because he was faster and it’s in the rules. We have seen it in Brazil (2008) as Keith pointed out and in Brazil (2011) when Adrian Sutil unlapped himself by overtaking Vettel near the end of the race.

      How did Hamilton impede Vettel?
      – Hamilton got past Vettel towards the end of the long straight. It was clear from the replays that HAM outbraked himself and got onto the racing line. In the process, VET couldn’t get a good exit out of the hairpin as HAM was infront of him. Had HAM not been infront of him, he would have been faster out of the hairpin and his delta to ALO would have remained the same.
      – As a result of HAM’s manoeuvre VET didnt get a good exit and lost time.

      How should have HAM overtaken VET?
      – He should have waited for the next straight and overtaken him much before the following corner.
      This way, on reaching the corner, he would have built up a good enough distance from Vettel and Vettel need not slow down to avoid hitting HAM at the exit of the corner.
      This is one example of how he should have done it watch the overtake at 00:46 . Assuming that Mansell was much faster than Senna(like HAM and VET), he would have had a good distance to him at the corner following the overtake
      @dutch-in-sweden @david-a @keithcollantine @nick101 @marlarkey @xjr15jaaag

  4. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:42

    Wow. I was not expecting a penalty to be given out at all, moreso for the intangible factors surrounding the incident rather than the letter of the rules. Can’t say it’s not unwarranted as he did leave the circuit. This sends a message to every other driver as well. There’s a zero tolerance approach to this now.

    • Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:50

      The message is: be afraid, don’t try to overtake. FIA is trying to make races more dull, there’s to much overtaking this year.

      Now, the punishment is to harsh. Don’t fit the crime at all.

      • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:53

        No the message is try to overtake LEGALLY!

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:58

        Well I think it’s right they’re cracking down on it. The FIA had to do something to replace the penalty drivers used to receive when off the circuit was predominantly grass and gravel traps. The circuit ends at the white lines, drivers have to respect that or we end up with Mario Kart. I don’t think it’s the FIA trying to make the races duller!

        I agree that it is a bit harsh to the ‘crime’ committed, however he was given the only penalty provided for by the rules.

      • spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 22nd July 2012, 17:16

        Punishment too harsh? Really? He overtook off the circuit. He knew he overtook off the circuit. He had the opportunity to give the place back. He didn’t. Hence why the stewards got involved. Stewards just swapping the places is not sufficient as the driver had the chance to do that and chose not too. A punishment must me meted out that sends the message to not do it again. Personally, I think he got away lightly as a stop-go or drive through would probably take longer.

      • grat said on 23rd July 2012, 3:56

        No, the message is “The runoff area is not there to help you pass”. Vettel deliberately chose a line that would take him off track to make the pass. He could have gone for the inside line, and simply out-accelerated Button from the hairpin, and given the state of Button’s tires, it wouldn’t have been difficult.

      • Mark (@marlarkey) said on 23rd July 2012, 10:24

        Would VET have done what he did if there had been a gravel trap there instead of a tarmac run off area ? Clearly he wouldn’t have done.

        I think maybe something needs to be done with these run-off areas to discourage their use… maybe to give them a texture that slows the cars… difficult I know given that they can’t put sleeping policemen in them or ‘traps’ that might be a safety hazard in the event of a high-speed crash.

        • Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 23rd July 2012, 11:15

          Absolutely – and this isn’t even where the cars would end up in a high-speed crash. There should be more of a deterrent – perhaps more gravel, or a street-circuit-style soft barrier, after the apex of the corner where the cars re-join the track. Turn 1 and the hairpin at Hockenheim are particularly bad, and the chicanes at Valencia and Spa have the same problem – seems to be a Tilke design flaw.

      • Conzo said on 25th July 2012, 13:54

        Mr. Marques, don’t make yourself look foolish.

        The decision was made by the stewards, not by the FIA. The rules are clear, the case was clear, there was little else to do but hand out the penalty.

        The rule that says you have to stay inside the track is not in place to make races dull, but because … well, do I really need to explain to you why the rule makes sense?

        Moreover, according to a stubborn core, the FIA has been trying to stop overtaking and make racing duller for the last few years. That same FIA has implemented rule changes and changes in regulations, in order to promote overtaking, but apparently they’re still trying to stop overtaking and make racing dull?

        Over the last 5 or so years, I’ve seen some of the best overtakes I’ve ever seen, (to cut you off rightaway, none of them involved DRS). Those drivers found a way around their opponent _on_ the track. If Vettel can’t find a way to do the same then it’s a pity for him, but on that day, on that track, in that car, and in that corner, he just was not good enough to nail the overtake, and that’s where the story ends, as far as I’m concerned. As F1 incidents go, this was one of the more straightforward ones, no matter who is behind the wheel.

  5. Pedro Costa (@pnunocosta) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:43

    I´m not Vettel´s fan, but I don´t think this penalty was fair. Why wasn´t Hamilton penalized in Bahrain? Pretty much the same manouvre to me.
    It seems to me that the FIA knew that RB was illegal this morning but they couldn´t prove anything, so they got the first chance they had to hit on them.
    I don´t agree with political decisions.

    • metalman71589 (@metalman71589) said on 22nd July 2012, 17:15

      Sky showed a replay in the post-Race.

      Hamilton didn’t actually pass Rosberg until they were back on track.

    • I seriously think the Hamilton-Rosberg one was different, in that
      1) Hamilton was back on track when he overtook and
      2) he gained no advantage as he was on the grass down a straight.

      Vettel clearly gained an advantage as if he had stayed on track he wouldn’t have had the acceleration to overtake Button.

      IMO, if there had been grass, or artificial grass there, and vettel had got past on it then I would say the overtake was fair. The fact he used asphalt meant it was unfair. Easy solution – remove the asphalt, then drivers won’t use it.

  6. And1 said on 22nd July 2012, 16:43

    Good result, he should have immediately conceded the place, red bull could have told him to do it. So left the stewards to do what he should honorably have done, he deserves the 2 places for being dishonorable.

  7. David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:44

    Correct decision, Vettel must do better.

  8. Girts (@girts) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:45

    Maybe a 5-second penalty would have been enough but the pass certainly was not valid. Button didn’t push Vettel off the track and he wasn’t required to leave more room, too. Seb just effectively decided to widen the track for himself.

  9. Olivier42 (@olivier42) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:46

    The 20 second penalty was fair.
    Vettel and Red Bull took a bet – they ended up losing 5 points (3rd -> 5th). Not the end of the world. The problem is Alonso winning, not whether they finish 2nd or 3rd or 5th.

  10. soulsnats (@stanslous) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:46

    Thank God a year that sees Vettel getting it all wrong!!!

    • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:52

      Schadenfreude isn’t a very nice reaction to anything in my view. Maybe you should keep gloating over things like this to yourself?

      • Alfie (@alfie) said on 22nd July 2012, 20:08

        I have never before seen someone actually use ‘schadenfreude’ in a context that isn’t explaining what it is..

      • metalman71589 (@metalman71589) said on 23rd July 2012, 3:30

        Usually, I’d agree.

        But Vettel, and Horner… Are such b*@%ards, it’s warranted. Whenever anything goes wrong for Vettel, he looks and acts like a scolded child who’s been put in a corner! That is not how a 2 time WDC should act.

        Horner is such a smug little twit, whenever he’s on screen I can’t help put want to punch him in the face. He’ll argue, the elephant over there, “is open to interpretation, so it’s a giraffe. And you can’t write in the ‘spirit’ of the rules, so yes…It’s clearly a giraffe”

        Any Penalty these clowns get it well deserved.

        • Conzo said on 25th July 2012, 14:06

          metalman: I don’t think it’s fair to direct hatred at RB/Horner/Vettel for doing what every other team does – hugging the limits of the regulations and attempt to get away with it. Because they are still in many ways the ‘team to beat’, they’re under more scrutiny, so we notice it a lot more, but I can’t say that I haven’t felt similar feelings of nausea when seeing Ron Dennis, Jean Todt, or Flavio, when they were the top of the class.

          I do agree though, that Vettel has not yet proven himself a mature driver when things are not going his way – I find it irritating and disappointing, but then again, I think the jury is still out anyway on Seb, and in particular whether he can actually _win_ a race (as opposed to ‘not losing’ it). Much as I believe that he and Hamilton are probably the fastest over one lap, at the moment, we’ll have to give him time to develop – incidentally, I think Lewis came back a better driver after his horrible 2011, both in pure racecraft, and in his dealing with negative experiences.

          In many ways, I find it very nice that Alonso and Webber, two of the most mature and fair drivers on track, have shown some of the other kids how one drives a proper race and how one conducts a proper fight on track, with neighter of them showing signs of bottyhurt when they were beaten fair and square.

  11. Daniel Brown (@scuderiaferrarifanatic) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:49

    Justice has been done, on this occasion. Just because he is Sebastien Vettel, F1’s perfect racer hero of recent years, doesn’t mean the rules dont apply to him.

    A fair and consistent judgement. Anybody else guilty of this would be given the same penalty, so this is fair. If there had been any other judgement, McLaren would have almost certainly appealed, it would possibly have dragged on to the WMSC court of appeal, and the result wouldn’t have been final for months. A good judgement from the stewards, not so much from Vettel.

    In other news, a German has lost on penalties!!!

  12. sumedh said on 22nd July 2012, 16:50

    I don’t think a penalty was required here. Overtaking from the outside is different from overtaking from the inside. Vettel did the same to Button last year in Australia and got away with it.

    Inconsistency again! I agree with @pnunocosta above. FIA just wanted to punish Red Bull for their engine mapping infringement but couldn’t due to their own mistake.

  13. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:52

    Good result for Kimi and glad that Button retained 2nd..

  14. Tayyib (@m0nzaman) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:53

    He would have never have passed at that corner if he did not go off the track, he gained an advantage by going off the track, so he did deserve the penalty, what bugs me though is there is too many inconsistencies eg Oz 2011 vettel passes button on the outside of the exit of turn 4 but nothing was done i think in that same gp one of the str’s was penalised for passing like that.

    • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 22nd July 2012, 21:37

      No; Buemi wasn’t penalised on that occasion, and that pass was a lot less clear cut; he was side=by-side with a Force India into the next corner, whilst vettels move was done before he went off track in melbourne

  15. Bendanarama (@bendana) said on 22nd July 2012, 16:54

    It’s fair enough really – a clear rule violation with a clear consequence.

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