Sebastian Vettel penalize for an illegal manoeuvre
The defending two-time champion was handed a 20-second penalty by stewards following the race at the Hockenheim circuit after officials deemed that his move to pass Jenson Button on the penultimate lap was in violation of the rules.
The German was consequently stripped of his second-place finish, with Button promoted to the second step of the podium and Vettel demoted to fifth.
Speaking to private Austrian television station Servus TV, a channel owned by Red Bull, team advisor Helmut Marko said the sanction amounted “to condemning a chicken thief to the death penalty”.
According to Marko, a former Austrian F1 driver, Vettel’s manoeuvre that resulted in the German running off the track was “normal”.
“There was no particular advantage and therefore I didn’t see any fault. We believe we are in the right,” he added.
Marko also pointed out that a similar move by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton on Nico Rosberg at the Bahrain Grand Prix in April did not incur any punishment.
Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne also voiced his support for Vettel, claiming that “Jenson should have given him space. I would have reacted in the same way as Sebastian”.
At the halfway stage of this year’s championship, Vettel is third in the drivers’ standings on 110 points, 44 behind leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber is second, 34 points adrift of the Spaniard.
The next race on the F1 calendar is the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest scheduled for July 29.