Niki Lauda - Sebastian Vettel deserves harsher penalty for Valtteri Bottas incident

28 June, 2018, 22:27 | Author: Amy Huff
  • The French Grand Prix returns to the Formula One calendar for the first time in a decade
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Second placed Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, left and third placed Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, stand on the podium with Hamilton.

The Ferrari driver collided with the Briton's Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas at the start of Sunday's French Grand Prix, an error that handed the championship lead to eventual race victor Hamilton.

A few seconds later, a crash between Scuderia Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Sahara Force India's Esteban Ocon brought out a safety auto, so both Vettel and Bottas could pit for repairs without losing a ton of time.

Ferrari's podium hopes fell back to Raikkonen, who was boosted by Ricciardo suffering debris damage to his front wing, slowing the Red Bull Racing auto enough to enable the Finn to cruise past him for third place on lap 47.

The Briton has now gone a record 33 successive races in the points. Vettel, who entered the race with a one-point lead, leaves trailing by 14.

After months of being the centre of criticism from fellow drivers and reporters, Max Verstappen took the opportunity for payback after Sebastian Vettel collided with Valtteri Bottas at Sunday's French GP.

"Obviously for Valtteri it was very bad because it affected his race and he had nothing to do with it, so I went to him after the race [to talk to him]".

"So I guess the rule is causing a collision and that's what I did because I lost the auto".

Mercedes new engine wasn't given a clean bill of health in France however. The guys did a great job. I'm getting annoyed about it. Mistakes happen and they happen to the best of us. Only Michael Schumacher has more victories with 91.

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Bottas, who needed a new rear tire, had to restart at the back with Vettel.

Hamilton believes that the five-second penalty that Vettel was issued as a result of the fact that he spun out and damaged Bottas's vehicle was too lenient.

Following a sluggish start to the season, Hamilton now has the ideal chance to build a lead especially heading into the European phase of the season, and he said that the team would continue to push themselves.

But Hamilton then added: "Those things happen".

"Obviously what you don't see is that I lost a lot of grip and as I said I saw it and I was aware, so the two cars running around the outside trying to get their position on me, because I was stuck but I couldn't slow down more than I did and obviously lost the auto and hit Valtteri. We are not twiddling around".

Carlos Sainz in the Renault was running in 6th place at one point but suffered a power unit issue, which allowed Kevin Magnussen in the Haas and Bottas to drive past the Spaniard. But last week it was reported that McLaren are interested in signing him for 2019.

Do you agree with Lewis Hamilton's assessment that the penalty that was issued to Sebastian Vettel was too lenient?

Vettel started the French Grand Prix at the 15-turn, 3.630-mile (5.842-kilometer) Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, Var, France on the inside of the second row in third place.

With less time for Ferrari's engineers to play catch up, Hamilton will hope to press his advantage at the Austrian and British races.

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