‘Penalty was a Joke’- Sebastian Vettel Looks Back on the THAT Moment From the Canadian GP

Published 12/18/2020, 3:04 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – December 3, 2020 Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel arrives ahead of the Sakhir Grand Prix REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit during the race weekend in Canada last season. Sebastian Vettel was leading the pack, and his victory was written all over the race. However, a tiny mistake cost Vettel the win despite finishing the race in P1.


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Speaking to Formula 1, Vettel looked back at the incident and is still upset with the Stewards’ decision. “It was just a joke. But, Yeah, it was our race to have,” he said.


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Obviously, the end of the race was then a bit dull with the penalty being outspoken. Lewis didn’t have to attack anymore.” Following the chequered flag, a massive controversy erupted on the harsh decision by the stewards.

A look back at the Lewis Hamilton-Sebastian Vettel battle

Vettel started the race from P1 alongside his rival, Lewis Hamilton. The German had a clean start to the race and pulled away from the Briton. However, Lewis did not leave Vettel in peace and kept heaping pressure over the race leader.

Eventually, on Lap 48, Vettel cracked under pressure and went off the track going into Turn 4. Lewis saw the gap and went for it. However, Vettel joined the track just inches after the exit of Turn 4, without any grip, and almost squeezed Lewis into the wall.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel during practice Pool via REUTERS/Clive Mason

Luckily, both the drivers escaped unscathed. But to Vettel’s dismay, the Stewards awarded the Ferrari driver a 5-second time penalty just laps after the incident.

Hence, Lewis didn’t have to fight for P1 any more, as the Briton kept himself within the 5-second gap till the chequered flag, and stole the victory from Vettel.

Vettel reveals swapping the boards was the best way to express his displeasure

Following the race, Vettel drove his Ferrari into the pits after the cooldown lap. He parked his car in the P2 slot, got out of the car, and walked straight to the P1 slot.

The German swapped the P1 and the P2 boards with his Ferrari and Lewis’ Mercedes, as the fans roared in the background cheering and applauding Vettel’s move.

Vettel opened up that it was the right way to showcase his disappointment with the Stewards’ decision. “Yeah, we crossed the line first, and I felt like I won the race and we got stolen the victory,” he said.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the race alongside third-placed Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel Pool via REUTERS/Kenan Asyali

So, the best way to express that was by swap the boards in parc ferme.”


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It is definitely a debatable topic. The fact that Vettel rejoined the track in an unsafe way was how the stewards viewed the incident. However, from Vettel’s perspective, he had to drive over the grass, and the track had a drop in altitude over that part.

Hence, he rejoined the track with pretty much no grip on his tires. It was quite evident that his rear tires weren’t up to temperature as his car was weaving left and right.


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Overall, did Vettel deserve such a penalty, considering he lost a victory because of that?


Rohit Kumar

762 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.