Vettel labels red flag rules 'wrong' after penalty

Vettel labels red flag rules 'wrong' after penalty

The racer in him might not like it - but when pushed over whether he'd move Valtteri Bottas aside in Sunday's United States Grand Prix if it meant securing Lewis Hamilton the title, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admitted that he would likely go against his racing instincts and make the call for the Finn to give way.

Hamilton topped the times for Mercedes in the rain-abbreviated second practice at the Circuit of the Americas which only burst into life for the final 40 minutes as the track dried.

Shortly after the end of today's second session, having interviewed Vettel before it got underway, the stewards handed the German a three-place grid drop and two penalty points for his licence after finding that he did not slow sufficiently, a regulation breach deemed to be an "extremely serious matter".

Sebastian Vettel has no chance of winning the world championship - it would be far more improbable even than Kimi Raikkonen's '07 turnaround - and he'd be on the back foot even if he wasn't 67 points behind.

Vettel was reported for speeding on Friday after Charles Leclerc of Sauber brought gravel back onto the circuit after a spin to create the need for red flags and a clean-up.

"Before, if there's a crash and a red flag you just slow down a lot in the place you had the crash and then after that you drive carefully, and it's not like you need to respect a certain time. To be consistent with previous decisions on similar incidents this year, the Stewards assessed the penalty specified above".

"I think I saw the red flag, I slowed down, had a look around [to see] where was the auto potentially stuck in the wall - if there was one around Turn 9 and 10 - and then slowed down significantly to comply with the rules", said the German.

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When asked what the stewards' explanation was, Vettel told reporters following second practice: "They were very specific, saying they took 27.7 seconds to slow down".

"But in my opinion it's not the right thing because if there is a vehicle behind you it might run into you but it's more important that you don't get a penalty".

In the rainswept session, Hamilton was top ahead of Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso, Max Verstappen of Red Bull, Fernando Alonso of McLaren and Nico Hulkenberg of Renault.

"The weather was miserable this morning; it looked like it was going to dry up going into FP2 but then all of a sudden the heavens opened again".

"We had enough laps and it is clear that we were not competitive", he said.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).

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