Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman Niki Lauda and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton have both shown distaste towards Sebastian Vettel’s five-second penalty in the French Grand Prix, saying it simply wasn’t enough.
Vettel collided with Valtteri Bottas on the first lap of the race, leaving the Mercedes driver with a puncture and floor damage that compromised his performance for the remainder of the race.
By the end of the first lap, with the safety-car deployed, Vettel and Bottas were running 17th and 18th respectively.
The three-time Formula 1 World Champion described the five-second penalty as “nothing” and said Vettel “destroyed” Bottas’ race.
Immediately after winning the Grand Prix, cameras captured a conversation between podium finishers Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
“A five [second] penalty for taking someone out in Turn 1,” Hamilton quipped, with an obvious implication.
“Man, that’s crazy,” Hamilton commented upon viewing the incident in the cool-down room.
The steward’s report of the incident said that Bottas “clearly left room on the inside of Turn 1” for Vettel.
The Ferrari driver admitted the crash was his fault.
“When I tried to brake [for Turn 1], I had absolutely no grip,” Vettel explained after finishing the race in P5.
The five-second penalty awarded to Vettel was the least harsh of the four penalties available to the stewards under Article 38.3 of Formula 1’s Sporting Regulations.
The toughest penalty available was a ten-second stop/go, which Vettel received in the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix for a collision with Lewis Hamilton.
“I guess today was just not my day,” Bottas said on the incident.
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