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Hamilton and Lauda criticise Vettel penalty

Mercedes are not happy with the steward’s decision to hand Vettel a five-second time penalty, which was the most leniant punishment.

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The top three drivers in qualifying for the French Grand Prix, from left-to-right: Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel.

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.

“Why Vettel only gets five seconds for this enormous mistake I don’t really understand,” Lauda told Sky Sports F1 after the race, which was won by Lewis Hamilton.

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Sebastian Vettel collided with Valtteri Bottas on the first lap of the French Grand Prix, a move which Niki Lauda said “destroyed” Bottas race.

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.

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The eventual podium finishers in France: Max Verstappen (P2), Lewis Hamilton (P1) and Kimi Raikkonen (P3).

“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.

Steven Walton is an 18-year-old Journalism Student at the Ara Institute of Canterbury. He previously attended St Andrew's College in Christchurch, where he excelled at History and Classical Studies. Steven is the Editor-in-Chief at Green Flag F1 and spends most of his days living, breathing, and immersing in the Formula 1 world.

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