Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Hockenheim, 2012

Vettel demoted to fifth with 20-second penalty

2012 German Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.

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

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  1. Good, he deserved it. He ignored the track limits for most of the race.

    1. No he didnt, Vettel off track incursions started after Hamilton unlapping him. That mean McLaren tactics of disrupting one of the front driver worked. Indeed Vettel fault to let his concetration gone by Hamilton move which was valid but still an unsportman tactic by the other team who were told by radio he didnt want to continue but it was instructed by his team to stay…

  2. to get ahead of webber in the championship all vettel has to do is cry and Uncle Marko will fit webber with a shonky gearbox…if only he had another uncle in the stewards box :)

    1. Weber is a great driver, fair guy, and really sportsman so to make this comment you are just denigrating Weber himself who wouldn’t commit to a team for another year if this case you are implying were true.

  3. 1 Perhaps the white lines are in the wrong places, all that nice real estate to use. Let drivers drive where they think best.
    2 Why are there white lines anyway? These guys aren’t your granny going along the road following the lines.

    1. White lines are there to outline the confines of the track. If they weren’t there then how can you justifiably say whether someone was short cutting the track – for example the final chicane at Montreal – without a defined rule on confining the cars to the race track, the drivers would try to straightline it as much as possible. Some tracks are given large run off areas to promote safety and not for drivers to exploit an advantage, hence white lines are there to define the confines of the race track.

      1. there is not a exploit where there is not a real advantage, that is a biggest radius to go under an slipery LOGO way different from Canada were after the white line you still have same track asphalt. This is not the case. Indeed rule was applied correctly but didnt serve its purpose that is why Whitting is calling for change of penalty times as well. The less cheater of top driver in F1 today is Vettel, if you meet him in person you will know that. He is even the less arrogant of all. Too bad newspaper, and comentarist manipulate the way the question someone to get an scandal of everything just to sell more

        1. I never said Vettel was a cheater. I merely explained in logical sense why race tracks have white lines. It’s quite clear you’re a Vettel fan and your comments on this matter is somewhat biased.

  4. Perhaps if He hadn`t of waved He`s arms around while being unlapped by Hamilton He would of been a metre or two further down the road when Button emerged from the pits……….( tounge in cheek :-)
    Seriously though if He hadn`t of got a penalty for that then I dont know what you would get one for. After Spa 08 it was a no brainer, why wern`t the pit wall on to VET to tell Him to give the position back.
    10 seconds for VET an 10 seconds for the team for pushing the envelope of sportmanship…

    1. I agree. The guy is still immature, it didn’t even cross his mind what he’d done at the time, its the new generation. Alonso, Webber, Button, Raikkonen- in the same situation he would have handed the place back and tried again.

  5. Yes, it’s a harsh penalty, but just look at the result before the penalty was applied – Vettel finished three seconds behind Button. If he had given the position back the way he should have, Vettel could have re-passed Button by the end of the race, and he would have 18 World Championship points instead of the 8 he has now.

    1. The same happened with Alonso in 2010 when he passed Kubica. Ferrari was on the phone to Charlie whether they need to give the position back. As it turns out Kubica car expired and Alonso then had to take a drive through penalty. That just after safety car period and he lost many place. Add that point’s loss to his championship in 2010. At that time you said it was correct decision and had no sympathy with Alonso.

  6. All in all, as Vettel likes to say, the penalty is fair.

  7. I really wasn’t expecting the penalty to come down, I could see that he clearly deserved one but I thought he’d get away with it. 20 seconds seems more than fair, they can’t just drop him one place, they have to punish him so that drivers will have a motivation to not do it in future, if the worst that can happen is you just lose one place then it’s worth having a go. It’s just a shame we didn’t get to see Raikkonen on the podium!

  8. I like the way Vettel said he was at a disadvantage trying to get traction on the paint , with their foul play engine mapping the Red Bulls probably could get traction on the grass :-)

  9. Too Harsh! Definitely a penalty but I agree with Johnny Herbert swap the places, several other drivers went fully off the track and gained advantages including the race was a racing incident.. end of..
    Having said that, you have to play by the rules so Vettel will just have to live with it.

  10. Daniel Brown (@scuderiaferrarifanatic)
    23rd July 2012, 12:08

    Correct me if i am wrong, but surely there is no good reason in terms of safety, why the Hockenheim hairpin, and other areas on that track, cannot be made into gravel traps? It worked in the 90’s, in all but the worst incidents, and it is the ultimate deterrent against what Vettel did, for the result would have been embeachment in the gravel. It certainly does not need to be tarmac. I suspect the only reason for it being tarmac is because you can paint sponsor logos on it. The highest commercial echelon of the sport dont care about whats better for the racing, and perhaps not even about whats better for safety. If they did, that huge expanse of tarmac would be slippy astro turf followed by safety gravel.

    1. just the way that turn is made doesn’t help racing since you give chances to real slow cars to get away with an undeserved advantage. Now, with Whiting clarification of the overtake rule, called the unwritten rule, still people will tried the same thing Button did and got away with it since you don’t have a racing line anymore when the car behind you gets by your side so you have to leave space/room. So if you want to avoid all this dumb controversies, just create better TURNS an redefine what a race line would, something that doesn’t take a car front one side of the road to the other just to be able to make a turn and give excuses to exploit the racing line concept.

  11. Fair enough decision on my part, I agree with the stewards. It was pretty evident to see. There perhaps is an element of truth in Vettel’s defence in that he couldn’t see behind him all too well but it makes me then wonder if the responsibility should have been laid at the feet of his pit-wall to communicate his error to him?

    Benefit of hindsight I guess…


    There Charlie Wiithings says how FIA is now “creating new penalties system which will have even a five second penalty” So next time when another driver does the same they will apply just five seconds!!!!!!! Keep the rules the same way for all the year long, then change what you want!!! Well looks like Alonso has a whole bunch of luck this year and Vettel doesn’t. Mmmmmm, well Alonso is a great driver WT**** I dislike the guy, but anyway I ‘d like Vettel was triple champion. Probably next year.

    1. It looks like they’ve taken the quotes from AMuS, is the translation accurate?

  13. Relative Justice has been served. McLaren won this one with their mind games. The only reason Hamilton was trying to unlap front runners was to help button by disrupting front runners. It worked for Vettel, Alonso didnt yield and took this tactic for his own an advantage, Hamilton did him a favor at the end. As for Vettel overtaking move, yes, it was the right penalty but it was relative justice. Here is the problem, Vettel already got side by side with Button so as Mr Whiting stated, which he called the unwritten rule, the front driver has to give room to the other car when the car behind front wing get pass the car at front rear wheels. Clearly Button didn’t give any room so what would you expect? Vettel preserving his race line or open up a little bit to avoid crashing into Button, who always does this despite Whiting last comments about overtaking?? The offtrack rule was created mainly for gaining some time advantage by cutting a chicane or taking out of circuit line where you still have asphalt with similar race track traction. There is not advantage passing someone with a biggest radius turn under a slippery surface plus next to grass stage except when if you car is way faster. In Hamilton vs Rosberg, Withing said neither driver was penalized because they accepted the following premises: Rosberg defensive move was valid and Hamilton running off track when he overtook Rosberg was to avoid collision where track condition didnt give Hamilton any clear advantage over Rosberg. Back to Vettel passing if you check the footage you clearly see before the turn Vettel got side by side with Button, then Button over speeding the turn to get just his nose at front but still Vettel was at his side already but since Button over shot his turn he couldnt give any room, Button fault since it was not his racing line anymore under Whiting clarification of the overtake rule, the so called unwritten rule whiich, in my humble opinion, should be written. Moreover, Button comment over the radio about Vettel passing off track shows he did that on purpose same as Hamilton radio talk to park the car but the team saw that as opportunity to help Button. The abide by the rule book, it was justified? it was a simple case of relative justice since the rule didnt serve its real purpose

    1. What rubbish! I think you were looking at the wrong replay or you have a different pair of glasses when it comes to Vettel’s misdemeanors.

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