Explainer: Why Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari lost the Canadian GP despite finishing first in Montreal

Race stewards added a five-second time penalty to the German's time for driving in an 'unsafe manner', giving the win to Lewis Hamilton

Sunday's seventh round of the 2019 Formula One season, the Canadian Grand Prix, will be remembered for the controversy over a time penalty.

Sebastian Vettel was first home in his Ferrari, but was placed second behind Lewis Hamilton due to a time penalty being added to his time after he was penalised for driving in an 'unsafe manner'.

This is what happened.

The Canadian Grand Prix until Lap 48

Vettel had led from the pole position he had won in Saturday's qualifying session, only losing the lead during the pit stops.

He had been as far as three seconds clear of Hamilton at one stage, but the Mercedes-GP driver had been reeling him in during the second half of the 70-lap race.

The gap had come down to less then one second at the start of Lap 48.

Vettel's mistake on Lap 48 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve proves costly

Vettel slid wide across the grass as the back end of his Ferrari stepped out as he braked for the fast right-hander at Turn 3 on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

He trundled over the grass and ran back across the track, just as Hamilton looked to go around him on the outside.

Vettel's car filled the road in front of Hamilton and the Briton, whose front left tyre had been level with his rival's right rear, went as wide as he could onto the kerb on the right-hand side of the circuit, before having to brake heavily to avoid impact with the Ferrari.

Five-second penalty

Hamilton complained on his pit radio. "He came on the track so dangerously," said the five-time world champion about having to take evasive action.

The stewards looked at the incident and at the start of Lap 58 it was announced that Vettel would be given a five-second time penalty, which would be added to his result after the race.

Vettel crossed the finish line 12 laps later but the win was given to Hamilton, who been 1.4 seconds behind the German at the finish.

'You need to be an absolute blind man': Vettel's reaction to penalty

Vettel said on his radio: "You need to be an absolute blind man to think you can go through the grass and then control the car.

"I was lucky I didn't hit the wall. Where the hell am I supposed to go? This is a wrong world I tell you. This is not fair."

What the F1 stewards said

A statement from the F1 stewards' post-race said: "The stewards reviewed video evidence and determined that Car 5, left the track at turn 3, rejoined the track at turn 4 in an unsafe manner and forced car 44 off track. Car 44 had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

Vettel's post-race anger and nearly snubbing podium

A furious Vettel stormed away after returning to the pits and initially looked as if he would snub the podium ceremony as he went to Ferrari's hospitality area. But he returned with an FIA official, but not before moving the No 1 board placed in front of Hamilton's car and putting the No 2 in front of it instead.

Hamilton, who was booed by some of the Montreal crowd, did his best to show solidarity with Vettel, pulling him up to stand with him on the top step of the podium.

Vettel defends Hamilton

Vettel was quick to point out to the jeering crowd that their ire should not be at the Briton.

"The people shouldn't boo at Lewis. He saw what was going on ... but people shouldn't boo at Lewis. If anything, they should boo at these funny decisions."

Hamilton 'not the way I wanted to win'

The Briton said he took no joy from the 78th win of his career coming in the manner it did. "Naturally, that is absolutely not the way I wanted to win," said Hamilton, who now leads the championship standings by 29 points.

"I was pushing to the end to try to get past. I forced him into an error, he went a bit wide but then I had the run on that corner and we nearly collided. It is unfortunate but this is motor racing."

Ferrari to appeal?

Ferrari are reportedly planning to challenge the decision, even though in-race time penalties cannot be appealed under the F1 regulations.

It appears the Italian team are looking to challenge the initial decision that Vettel was guilty of dangerous driving, rather then the action time penalty, hoping if the first is annulled then it will eliminate the second part.

Updated: June 10, 2019 10:58 AM


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