Tue, Jun 11, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Vettel fumes about costly time penalty as Hamilton wins

AFP, MONTREAL

Sebastian Vettel on Sunday blasted race stewards who imposed a five-second penalty on the Ferrari driver that cost him victory in the Canadian Grand Prix, accusing them of “stealing the race” from his team.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was declared the race winner after Vettel was penalized for squeezing his rival off track as he rejoined during a high-speed incident on lap 50.

The stewards judged that the Ferrari driver had made an unsafe re-entry and forced Hamilton off the circuit when he rejoined after running off across a strip of grass at the first chicane.

“Where could I go?” an angry Vettel said on the team radio. “I had nowhere to go... They are stealing the race from us... This is the wrong world. This is not fair.”

After initially avoiding the post-race ceremonies, a crestfallen Vettel rejoined to appear on the podium, where Hamilton pulled him up to join him on the top step.

Their mutual respect was clear in front of a capacity crowd at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

“Well, first of all, I really enjoyed the race and the crowd on every lap,” Vettel said. “Seeing them cheer me on... It was very intense. I think you should ask the pit wall what they think, but we had a great show — and Lewis showed some good respect.”

When Hamilton was asked to speak, the crowd began to boo.

“All I can say is that I didn’t make the decision,” Hamilton said. “So I don’t know what they’re booing at.”

Vettel intervened.

“People shouldn’t boo at Lewis,” he said. “It wasn’t his intention to be in harm’s way. So, people shouldn’t boo at him. They should boo at those who make the decisions.”

This unity of respect followed their earlier comments when Hamilton thanked his team.

“Firstly, I want to say a big thank you to my team. It’s been a big effort for everyone, with my crash on Friday, to get the car sorted and I wouldn’t have been able to race, but that’s not the way I wanted to win. I forced him into an error, and he went wide and we nearly collided. It’s unfortunate, but this is racing.”

Told that Vettel felt the stewards’ verdict was unfair, Hamilton responded: “That’s his opinion, of course.”

“I took the corner normally and, when you come back on the track, you’re not supposed to go on to the racing line,” he said. “That’s not the way I wanted to win, but I would have been past. Physically, I am destroyed. It was such a tough race.”

Hamilton’s 78th career win was his record-equaling seventh in Canada — drawing him level with Michael Schumacher — and lifted him 29 points clear of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas at the top of the drivers’ championship.

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