'I don’t feel I did anything wrong' - Vettel upset with penalty that denied him Canada victory
“They are stealing the race from us!” Sebastian Vettel was deeply unhappy when his Ferrari team informed him of his five-second time penalty that would ultimately cost him a first victory of the season in Canada…
The German had led the race from pole position, absorbing the pressure from championship rival Lewis Hamilton up until lap 48, when he lost the rear, skated off across the grass and re-joined into the path of Hamilton.
Hamilton backed off and Vettel retained the lead, but the stewards investigated the incident and gave him a five-second time penalty plus two points on his licence, taking his tally to seven for a 12-month period.
READ MORE: Vettel's Canada penalty - The Stewards' decision in full
When he was first told of the penalty, Vettel said: “I had nowhere to go. I didn’t see him. Where was I supposed to go? I have grass on my wheels. He decides to go that way, if he got to the inside he got past me.”
Ferrari responded: “OK, stay focused. Copy that but stay focussed. 10 laps to go.” To which Vettel replied: “I am focused but they are stealing the race from us!”
Then speaking on team radio after the chequered flag, Vettel was still enraged: “No, no, no guys. No, no. Not like that. Not like that. No, no. seriously, you need to be an absolute blind man to think that you can go through the grass and then control your car. I was lucky that I did not hit the wall. Where the hell I am supposed to go? This is a wrong world. I tell you, this is not fair.”
Vettel opted to park his car at the other end of the pit lane, in the parc ferme area where cars that finished fourth or lower are directed too, rather than parking under the podium. He then went to be weighed and headed into the paddock before returning, via the Mercedes garage, to parc ferme where he moved the second placed board in front of Hamilton’s Mercedes and placed the first place placard in front of the space where he should have parked his car.
He then headed up to the pre-podium room, shook team mate Charles Leclerc and Hamilton’s hands before taking part in the podium ceremony.
I don’t feel I have done anything wrong, I don’t feel I could have done anything different
Thirty minutes later, he took part in the press conference for written media, where he gave a fuller explanation of his view of the incident: “Well I lost the rear of the car so obviously it wasn’t voluntarily going sailing across the track, not knowing how and in which fashion I would be re-joining. It was clear I was on the limit and pushing very hard throughout the entire race.
“Obviously I was going through the grass and I think it’s quite commonly known that the grass isn’t very grippy, and then I was coming back on track and just trying to make sure I had the car under control.
“Once I sort of regained control and made sure that I was right I saw Lewis right behind me. If you said that yesterday we had the euphoria or enthusiasm of a great day, I feel in a way the same today. We had a great race, the team did fantastic and obviously I’m not happy with the decision the stewards took.
“I think you can understand, so it feels a bit weird not having won the race even though you crossed the line first. As I said, I don’t feel I have done anything wrong, I don’t feel I could have done anything different. I don’t know actually what the problem was. Not much more to say. From my point of view, all the people out there, they probably agree with me.”