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Vettel handed grid penalty for impeding Sainz

Vettel handed grid penalty for impeding Sainz
Co-author: Scott Mitchell
Jun 30, 2018, 4:15 PM

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel has been penalised for impeding Carlos Sainz during the second segment of qualifying for Formula 1's Austrian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Third place Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H in parc ferme
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18
Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18, leads Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso STR13
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18

The German had qualified in third but will be demoted to sixth on the grid, behind teammate Kimi Raikkonen, Red Bull's Max Verstappen and the Haas car of Romain Grosjean.

Sainz was starting a last-ditch push lap in Q2 when he came up on the cruising Ferrari of Vettel on the exit of Turn 1, the Spaniard forced to move sharply to the left and go over the kerbs to avoid contact.


Sainz drew alongside Vettel and gesticulated at the German after rejoining the track, and radioed to his Renault team: "I had to take a kerb to avoid him, I nearly crashed."

Both Vettel and Sainz would make it through to the final qualifying segment, where the former placed third and the latter took ninth place.

Speaking to Spanish TV after the session, Sainz played down the impact of the run-in.

"In the end it didn't change my qualy much," Sainz said.

"It made me damage a front wing, which obviously costs money and it takes work to repair and you don't know if the wing will continue to work as well as before.

"But it didn't affect me too much.

"I think he simply didn't see me. He didn't do it on purpose. He wasn't warned on the radio."

In the post-qualifying press conference, Vettel confirmed he was indeed not informed that Sainz would be coming up on a fast lap behind him.

"I passed him on my fast lap in Turns 7 and 8 and I was looking down the main straight and I didn't see him.

"I was turning into Turn 1, trying again [to look] because I was thinking he must be there somewhere, I don't know if he was pitting or starting his lap.

"But as it turned out obviously he was trying to go for a fast lap. I couldn't see him, I wasn't told on the radio, so I can only apologise to him.

"There was no intention. I was looking down the straight, I turned around Turn 1, I was done with my lap and just wanted to make sure and there was nothing [in the mirrors] after Turn 1, which was obvious because I saw in the replay that we were side-by-side."

The stewards, however, judged that Vettel not seeing Sainz was not enough to absolve him of blame.

"It is the belief of the Stewards that notwithstanding the absence of a radio call, the driver of car 5 [Vettel], being aware of the issue of rear vision with his mirrors, should not have been so slow and on the racing line, during a slowdown lap in Qualification," their explanation read.

"Having reviewed all alleged impeding incidents since the beginning of 2016, the penalty of a drop of 3 grid positions is consistent with all other similar incidents."

In addition to the grid drop, Vettel received a penalty point on his license, taking him to three for the 12-month period.

Revised Austrian GP grid

1 finland Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 1'03.130  
2 united_kingdom Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 1'03.149 0.019
3 finland Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 1'03.660 0.530
4 netherlands Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 1'03.840 0.710
5 france Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 1'03.892 0.762
6 germany Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 1'03.464 0.334
7 australia Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 1'03.996 0.866
8 denmark Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 1'04.051 0.921
9 spain Carlos Sainz  Renault Renault 1'04.725 1.595
10 germany Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 1'05.019 1.889
11 france Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 1'04.845 1.715
12 france Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 1'04.874 1.744
13 spain Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 1'05.058 1.928
14 canada Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 1'05.286 2.156
15 belgium Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 1'05.271 2.141
16 mexico Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 1'05.279 2.149
17 russia Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 1'05.322 2.192
18 monaco Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 1'04.979 1.849
19 new_zealand Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 1'05.366 2.236
20 sweden Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 1'05.479 2.349
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Austrian GP: Post-qualifying press conference

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