So who really deserved the third-place trophy at Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix? (Photo: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic)
The stewards have had there say, but do you agree with their calls or not?
Formula One’s “referees” had a lot to look at in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, which resulted in time penalties for both Toro Rosso drivers, and no action being taken on an opening lap collision that took out Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein.
However, the story of the race – and several hours after the race – was the penalties that were (or weren’t) applied to the top-running finishers at the line.
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So, which of the following drivers do you think should have been given a penalty?
Lewis Hamilton dominated the Mexican Grand Prix after leading away from the front. However, the defending World Champion did have one hairy moment in Turn 1 on Lap 1when he locked up his right-front tire and drove straight on into the grass. Hamilton came back on as the race leader, but the stewards did not impose a penalty as he had gone into the turn ahead of anyone else anyway, and any time he’d gained had been erased by the Lap 1 Safety Car.
Behind Hamilton, Nico Rosberg brought home his Mercedes in second place, meaning Hamilton is 19 points behind Rosberg with two rounds to go. Yet, also in Turn 1, Rosberg had made a trip through the grass after being hit by the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. He reemerged in front of the Red Bull driver despite the fact that they had entered the turn side-by-side. However, the stewards took no action as Rosberg had been forced off the track by Verstappen.
Verstappen crossed the line in third position but, as he was getting ready to go on the podium, he was told that he had received a five-second time penalty, dropping him to fifth. He later moved back up to fourth when Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was given a 10-second time penalty hours after the race. Verstappen’s penalty was given after the stewards deemed that he had gained an advantage by cutting the grass in Turn 1. Verstappen had been side-by-side with Vettel entering the turn, but had came out in front after his off-track excursion.
Vettel crossed the line in fourth place, and certainly had an interesting final couple of laps to the race. After Verstappen had gone off, Vettel felt that not only should have Verstappen handed the position back to him, but also that he was now intentionally holding him up so that Verstappen’s teammate – Daniel Ricciardo – could catch him. Ricciardo did, and then looked down the inside of Vettel who – the stewards deemed – made a defensive move under braking, resulting in the two (Vettel and Ricciardo) making contact. While both cars were able to continue, Vettel was handed a 10-second penalty post-race, dropping him from third (after Verstappen’s penalty) to fifth.
Sebastian Vettel (Part 2)
During the closing laps of the race, Vettel got on his team’s radio to complain about Verstappen’s driving. When then informed about himself being placed under investigation for his defensive move on Ricciardo, Vettel got back on the radio telling F1’s race director Charlie Whiting to “[expletive] off.”