Vettel demoted from second to fifth for illegal pass on Button
22 July, 2012
Jul.22 (Apex) Sebastian Vettel has been penalised for what FIA stewards deemed to be an illegal pass on Jenson Button. What was a second place finish in the German Grand Prix has turned into fifth place for the reigning world champion.
Vettel explained his move after the race, “At the end of the race, Jenson’s tyres were gone and we were able to close the gap again. It was then a question of when, rather than where, and I tried to out-brake him. He opened the brake again and then was up the inside. I wasn’t sure where he was, I couldn’t see him in that moment, so decided to give enough space and went off line on the slippery paint and I was able to stay ahead and get past him.”
The German added, “The only intention was not to crash and to give him enough room. I have respect for him and I didn’t want to squeeze him. It was good to be on the podium at the home race, but I have to respect the steward’s decision.”
Immediately after the race Red Bull team principal Christian Horner defended his driver. The rules are clear, the driver has to leave enough room for the other. There wasn’t enough room for both. It was really a racing incident. If anything, Sebastian was slightly ahead into the braking zone. I think it would be harsh to penalise him.”
He added after the stewards’ verdict was delivered, “It was disappointing to receive the penalty after the race, but we accept this.”
Button, who inherited second place, said, “Sebastian [Vettel’s] pass was a pretty straightforward matter: the rules state that you can’t go off the track to gain an advantage. The thing is, there would have been more opportunities for him before the end of the race as my rear tyres were damaged.”
Subbed by AJN.