FIA race director Charlie Whiting has come forward in defence of the stewards in France. He was referring to their decision to give Sebastian Vettel a five-second penalty for colliding with Valtteri Bottas.
Bottas’ teammate Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes non executive chairman Niki Lauda were amongst those who criticised the punishment. They felt that the penalty should have been much heavier for Vettel. The German seemingly ruined Valtteri Bottas’ race and finished well ahead of him.
Whiting pointed out that the consequences of the drivers’ actions were not taken into account. He further explained that the five-second penalty was consistent with what was given to similar infractions in the past.
“[The stewards] had four options open to them,” Whiting said.
“A five-second penalty, 10-second, drive-through or stop-go. They chose the five-second penalty which is consistent with other incidents of that sort.
“If you look at the consequences of an incident then maybe one could think differently. But stewards attempt not to do that.”
As a result of the clash, Seb was given two penalty points on his super licence. He now has five such penalty points in a 12-month period.
The next grand prix is at the Austrian GP in Spielberg, where Vettel will be hoping to retake the lead. After the shenanigans in Le Castellet, Vettel will be hoping to put all this behind him.
Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was less than amused to find that Vettel got away with a mere rap on the knuckle. In fact, he even lambasted the media who gave him plenty of grief for overly aggressive driving. He mockingly suggested that the media implore Vettel to change his driving style.
But with this podium, Verstappen can proudly say that he is beginning to turn things around in this 2018 championship. But is it too late for the Dutchman?