Lewis Hamilton closed the Championship gap with another win on North American soil. Hamilton now only trails teammate Nico Rosberg by 19 points with only 2 races remaining. Hamilton’s chances are slim, he needs to keep winning and hope Nico hits problems. The Championship fight should have been the big story, however the big story after Mexico is blocking and the penalties that were or were not called.
Sebastian Vettel who crossed the line 3rd was penalized for irregular movement under braking. Vettel was defending his fourth place position from Daniel Ricciardo. Vettel moved across in the Turn 4 braking zone, which lead to the two drivers banging wheels and Vettel retaining the place. The stewards investigated the incident after the race and found that Vettel made an “abnormal change of direction” that was “potentially dangerous” and handed him a 10 second time penalty. Ferrari were not pleased, Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene voiced his displeasure with the penalty.
“I’m surprised (by the decision). We gained a podium on the track and they removed it with their bureaucracy – fantastic. When they give a five- or 10-second penalty, you can’t appeal. You just have to listen to what they decide.”
Red Bull predictably applauded F1’s Decision. Team boss Christian Horner believes the stewards made the right decision.
“There has been so much debate about movement under brakes since Japan, a clear directive came out this weekend, and a clear movement was made under brakes. If that had been prior to this weekend it would possibly have been OK, but the rules are clear. So we’ve the slightly unusual scenario where Max finished third on the road, made it as far as the green room, for Sebastian to go on the podium and take the plaudits, for Daniel to be taking the trophy home. But, I’m glad to see the stewards have made the right decision regarding the Ricciardo/Vettel incident.”
Immediately following the race Ricciardo was not pleased with Vettel.
“I just felt Seb did what everyone’s been complaining about lately –moving under braking. He just kept closing the door under braking. I’ve locked the brakes to try to avoid contact, but he kept closing, so in the end I had nowhere to go.
Don’t get me wrong –I love racing hard. I love seeing locking brakes, even a bit of contact is fine, but this whole moving under braking –if you’re going to defend you commit early and that’s it.
You make your bed. You don’t move once you’ve already been out-foxed. I felt that’s what I did today –Seb was there, he moved, I went, I won the chess match, and then he’s like, ‘Oh, I’ve screwed up, now I’m going to try and repair my mistake.’ For me that’s not right.”
Ricciardo wasn’t finished. After blasting Vettel he turned his ire onto race winner Lewis Hamilton. Ricciardo felt Hamilton should have received a penalty for defending his lead in turn one at the start of the race. After a lackluster start Hamilton locked up his brakes and went off track while defending his position. locking up and running off track at Turn 1 while defending the lead on the opening lap. Ricciardo got heated suggesting over the radio “There should be a f***ing wall there!” to prevent drivers getting a reprieve when they make mistakes.
I know it is the norm in F1 but I am getting pretty sick of all the complaining. The new “Blocking” rule was brought about because of how ferociously Max Verstappen was defending his positions earlier in the season. Instead of beating him on track the Drivers went to the FIA and got them to change the sporting regulations in the middle of the season. Look, sometimes when left un-checked a desperate driver will cross a line when defending a position. In that case, when the move is obviously dangerous, yes call a penalty. Or when contact is made call the penalty on the driver who caused the contact. But this new rule has done what many feared it would. It has increased the amount of whining coming from teams and drivers.
Frankly, that is not a good look for F1. If you get a penalty, it sucks, I get that. However, once you reach the point where there is nothing more you can do, suck it up and move on. Conversely, stop complaining about penalties that should be called or were called. If you feel something should be done, go see the stewards after the race, don’t bitch to the media. The FIA is not without blame here either. This whole issuing of penalties after races is ridiculous. If an on track incident happens the decision to issue a penalty should be done quicker. I’m not saying the FIA should make snap decisions and sometimes it is unavoidable, but it in most cases it shouldn’t take them until the end of races. Hopefully the new regs next season bring about more on track action. This off track bitching and moaning is getting very old.