Formula 1

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Sebastian Vettel escapes investigation after steering wheel incident in Malaysian GP

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Sebastian Vettel has escaped an investigation for failing to replace his steering wheel after a post-race crash with Lance Stroll at the Malaysian GP on Sunday.

While the stewards investigated and cleared the incident between the two drivers, they did not look into why Vettel did not re-attach his steering wheel after colliding with the young Canadian on the slow down lap.

Vettel had initially replaced the steering wheel then went back to retrieve it, before taking a lift back to the pits on Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber.

According to F1 Fanatic, the incident was potentially in violation of article 22.5 of the sporting regulations which states: “A driver who abandons a car must leave it in neutral or with the clutch disengaged, with the ERS shut down and with the steering wheel in place.”

So why did Vettel escape punishment? Quite simply because no one reported it.

FIA steward Garry Connelly surprisingly revealed: "We didn’t look at that. It wasn’t reported to us so we haven’t looked at it.”

The system works through stewards receiving reports of potential incidents from the race director Charlie Whiting, who in turn can receive complaints from other drivers.

F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia

However, it is not the first occasion that an incident has been overlooked.

Earlier in the season at the Chinese Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez were given penalties for not turning up on-time for the pre-race anthem national anthem, but Esteban Ocon's absence in the same race was not looked into.

That particular rule was brought in for the 2017 season and the Red Bull and Force India drivers were the first drivers to fall foul of it.

F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia

With five races remaining Vettel, the four-time world champion, has a tough job ahead to bridge the 34 point gap to Lewis Hamilton and win his first title with Ferrari.

The Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on Sunday has suddenly turned into a must win for the German, while he will also be hoping that Hamilton finishes out of the podium places.

However, with the driving pedigree that Vettel has, along with the crazy nature of Formula 1, you would not be surprised in the slightest if that was to occur.

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