The Japanese Grand Prix 2019 was not a particularly good day in the office for Scuderia Ferrari. Charles Leclerc had already put himself out of commission when he tangled with Max Verstappen. However, Sebastian Vettel was not fairing as well either, in the other Ferrari.
The German driver allegedly jump-started, before stopping and negating everything with a poor getaway. However, he somehow managed to escape a penalty for the transgression, and continued onwards to 2nd place.
Sebastian Vettel was asked if he was worried about getting a penalty for the jumpstart. Surprisingly, the German driver admitted that he wasn’t worried as he had done nothing wrong. That response prompted a snort from Lewis Hamilton and a smirk from race winner Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton leaned over and simply said, “You’re lying! Come on!”
Vettel defended himself saying, “No I didn’t. If you jump the start then obviously you get caught, so I think it was just fine.”
However, not many agreed, and Hamilton and Bottas were among the pro-penalty supporters.
It was worth noting that Kimi Raikkonen was given a drive-through penalty for a near-identical offence at the start in Russia. However, the FIA came up with a bizarre explanation that Vettel hadn’t moved enough in his grid box to trigger certain sensors. According to them, that was the reason why they didn’t issue a penalty.
Former F1 driver and often outspoken critic, Jacques Villeneuve said, “There are sensors and there is also some tolerance but for me they must review it.”
“It was clear that he had moved before, they penalised Raikkonen in Russia and they had to penalise Vettel this time.”
When Kimi Raikkonen jumpstarted, the FIA explanation was, “Although Car 7 moved before the start signal, it was determined that he did not gain an advantage by doing so. The penalty prescribed for the infringement, where no advantage is gained, is a mandatory drive through penalty”
For Vettel’s case, they said, “While the video showed some movement, that movement was within the acceptable tolerance of the F1 jump start system”