Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel may have secured the front row of the grid at the Brazil Grand Prix, but neither did so without drawing the attention of race officials.
The Mercedes driver narrowly escaped a high-speed collision with Sergey Sirotkin at Turn 11, while his Ferrari rival damaged the scales when he drove off too early from a routine weigh-in.
Both incidents occurred during a second qualifying session full of controversy, though only Vettel has since learnt his fate.
ESPN reports the German has received a non-driving reprimand from the FIA along with a €25,000 fine for his actions.
That’s got to hurt - but at least he will remain second on the starting grid alongside Hamilton.
In contrast, there was never any indication the pole-setter would be investigated for his near-miss with Sirotkin, which on first viewing, looked more likely to be his doing.
With both drivers nearing the end of out-laps, Hamilton was approaching the final corner on the racing line at low speed, forcing Sirotkin, travelling roughly 200kmph faster, to put two wheels off the track to avoid contact.
Speaking after qualifying, Hamilton said Sirotkin’s unexpected pace from behind made him think he was on a flying lap, and it was merely unfortunate they both moved in the same direction.
RICCIARDO ON HAMILTON-SIROTKIN INCIDENT
However, citing an unspoken racing etiquette between F1 drivers, Daniel Ricciardo believes the Briton could reasonably expect his Russian opponent wasn’t genuinely trying to overtake him.
“I’ve been overtaken before and I’ve overtaken before. I overtook Seb in Singapore approaching the last corner so it does happen,” said the Red Bull man, per racefans.net.
“I feel there is a bit of an understanding most of the time but none of us have ever agreed to it. We kind of feel if we respect them then if they’re in that position next time they’ll respect me. It’s an ‘I’ll be nice this time and he’ll probably be nice in return down the track’. It’s kind of that.”
RICCIARDO ON VETTEL WEIGHBRIDGE INCIDENT
Regarding what happened Vettel on the weighbridge, Ricciardo feels nothing but sympathy for him.
“If I was in his position I would be frustrated as well because rain [was] coming. He hadn’t set a lap yet so I guess in simple terms they’re just postponing his qualifying and putting him at risk.
“I’m sure we’re going to talk about it in Abu Dhabi now but we might have to try and add something in like you can only be called if you have set a lap. I think calling you to the bridge before you’ve set a lap, they’re kind of controlling your qualifying session, which I think is a bit unfair so from that point of view I will sympathise with Seb.
“You’ve got to switch your car off, that’s the thing, so the mechanics have to come, start it up. If the weather is like that it’s not ideal.
“I mean they called me in at Suzuka when I had my problem so I hadn’t set a time I had literally gone out and come back in and they called me in and I was a bit like ‘guys, why do you need me, I’ve done nothing?’ And then they saw I had problems and let me go. I kind of feel we need to set a lap before they call us on.”
It could be argued that Vettel, Hamilton and Sirotkin were all at fault in some part on Saturday, but the way the FIA have handled both incidents is what’s being discussed most.
Do you think Vettel’s sanction is fair? Is it unfair Hamilton wasn’t investigated? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.