(Motorsport-Total.com) – Sebastian Vettel’s joy about eighth place in qualifying on his 34th birthday was short-lived. A few hours after the Formula 1 qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, the Aston Martin driver was punished by the race stewards and moved three places back for his blockade against Fernando Alonso.
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Sebastian Vettel pissed Fernando Alonso over in qualifying
What happened? Vettel had massively hindered Alonso at the end of Q2 before the last corner. The Spaniard then missed the entry into Q3 and will only tackle the race from 14th place.
Alonso had already complained loudly over the radio, a little later he sounded more composed, but still stunned. “We missed the opportunity to be fifth or sixth on the grid tomorrow. That would have been a different race. I don’t think we’ll get any points tomorrow. Whatever penalty you pronounce, it’s not enough,” Alonso rumbled.
Official announcement from race director Michael Masi on Friday
In the driver briefing on Friday evening, it was precisely these curves that were discussed. Between the two corners 9 and 10, drivers should be particularly vigilant and not slow down unnecessarily.
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Race director Michael Masi even issued an official announcement especially for this passage, the “Event Note” 24.2a. If a driver wants to keep their distance from the vehicle in front in order to get a free lap, this should not happen between turns 9 and 10. But Vettel did not see the guilt for the incident with himself.
“I can’t do that much in the situation. I saw him in the mirror and then I get the radio message, then I tried to get out of the way, but I can’t vanish,” he says. The stewards saw it differently and put him three places back, and he also received one penalty point.
Alonso withdraws criticism of Vettel
However, no penalty was pronounced against Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas. Both were summoned to the stewards after the end of qualifying. Although both of them were slowing down before Turn 9 and thus violating the Event Note, “too many drivers were involved in the situation”, which is why neither of them was to blame.
Vettel, however, was not only accused of slowing down, but of “hindering” Alonso. Vettel justified himself by saying that he had no time to react, also because of the situation. “In the end, everyone overtook and slowed where we decided yesterday that we weren’t going to slow,” he said.
Onboard recordings show how he queues at Turn 9, but the drivers in front of him slow down. Vettel was therefore no longer able to start his final lap in Q2. He was also overtaken by several cars beforehand. “Was it ever in force?” Says Vettel ironically, referring to the agreement of the driver.
Alonso: Harsher sentences the only way
Alonso later took back his harsh criticism of Vettel and absolved him of at least part of the guilt. “I don’t think it’s his fault. To be honest, when we take Turn 9, Turn 10, we rely completely on the engineers at the radio. He had no clear track ahead of him, he had a car a second ahead of him , he couldn’t leave. That’s the way it is, “said Alonso fairly.
A punishment against Vettel was unavoidable, but it would have gone to Alonso, it would have almost rained in Spielberg penalties. Harsher sentences are “the only way” to avoid such situations in the future.
“I saw Sebastian’s outlap and he had two or three cars overtaking him on the last straight, which made his position even more difficult on the last corner. So that’s not a rule. So I can understand that this can happen. But this weekend there was a rule that you can’t slow down from Turn 9 to 10, “said Alonso.
Alonso demands a fine against twelve cars
Vettel himself said after the incident, if all drivers would have to be punished. And that’s exactly how Alonso sees it.
“So when you see twelve cars in front of Sebastian driving at five km / h between turns 9 and 10: in my opinion that’s a penalty for twelve cars. Also for Seb, because he didn’t let me pass. But what about.” happened to the other eleven cars? ”he asked. In any case, his race is “over” before the start.
Photo gallery: Formula 1 technology: detailed photos at the Austrian Grand Prix 2021
Ex-Formula 1 driver Paul di Resta had already pleaded for a penalty against Vettel after qualifying. “Whether it was his fault or not, he stopped him. His team is responsible for when they send him out. And when he’s at the end of the line, he has to get out of the way. Then you have to sacrifice your lap to hinder that.” to avoid, “he says.
Punishment takes a back seat to good performance
In his opinion, that’s exactly what Vettel did. “I saw him coming and half a second later I got the radio message. I tried to avoid it and canceled my lap. I sacrificed my own lap,” said Vettel, who repeated: “From my point of view, I have nothing wrong.”
The penalty put the good performance of Aston Martin and especially Vettel in the shade. Before that, he had only achieved eighth place in qualifying in Monaco.
“Perhaps a little more could have been achieved, but I don’t think that would have made a difference in terms of placement, in that respect eighth place was perhaps the maximum,” said Vettel: “That we had both cars in Q3 today was good for us.” Team-mate Lance Stroll finished tenth, but has moved up thanks to the penalty.