It was a bitter-sweet Mexican Grand Prix for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after a penalty handed him a place on the podium, before another took it away. But does he deserve even stronger punishment?
Sebastian Vettel is probably extremely frustrated after being handed a 10-second penalty that saw him demoted from third to fifth place following the conclusion of the Mexican Grand Prix.
The German was already frustrated with Max Verstappen after the Red Bull driver cut the first corner while under attack from him late in the race.
Vettel got retribution, however, when the teenager was slapped with a five-second penalty after the race which saw the German promoted to third place.
His satisfaction didn’t last long though as Vettel himself was also punished an hour later with a 10-second penalty of his own following a stewards’ inquiry.
Vettel’s offence? ‘Moving while braking’ as he tried to defend his position from Verstappen’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo’s challenge late on.
The punishment is kind of ironic as Vettel was one of the most vocal critics of Verstappen’s driving, which ultimately lead FIA director Charlie Whiting to introduce the new ‘moving while braking’ rule ahead of last week’s US Grand Prix.
Justice prevails, or does it? Because there’s still the issue of Vettel’s very public foul-mouthed admonishment of Whiting over his car radio that needs to be addressed.
The expletive-laden outburst at officialdom may have been a result of his battle with Verstappen, but it’s hard not to believe that frustration from the four-time world champion at his poor season was also partly to blame.
Nevertheless, it should not go unpunished. Bad language aimed at officials is punished severely by other sports and Formula 1 should be no different.
It demonstrates a lack of respect, sets a bad example and tarnishes the name of the sport. There is simply no excuse.
The best way to stamp it out is to come down on it harshly and by that Vettel should be given the most severe punishment available to the FIA and that is a suspension from the next race.
Besides, this course of action is a free pass for the federation, as coming down hard on Vettel will send a signal without having an effect on the outcome of the championship.
Of course, that is for President Jean Todt and the FIA to decide, but it needs to show that the FIA is serious about enforcing standard, while warning other drivers that such behaviour will not be tolerated in any way.
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