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Vettel's race ruined by post race penalty

NEWS STORY
22/07/2012

Second placed Sebastian Vettel was subsequently dropped down the order to fifth after the race for his penultimate lap move on McLaren's Jenson Button.

Struggling for grip in the dying stages of the race Button fell into the clutches of Vettel, who made a move around the outside of the McLaren driver at the turn six hairpin. On the inside, Button held his line and used the full width of the track on the exit, forcing Vettel off the circuit.

However Vettel persisted with the move, despite all four wheels of his Red Bull being outside the track boundaries. With better traction than Button the German then pulled clear on route to claiming second place at the flag.

After the race Button was unimpressed, though tight lipped, about the incident that had been referred to the Stewards. Vettel, by contrast, was defiant.

"Obviously I tried to out-brake him," he explained. "Then he released the brake a little bit so he was at the inside and I wasn't sure if he had given up the corner or not.

"I wanted to leave him some space and obviously it's difficult to know exactly where he is, so the last thing you want with two laps to go, or one whatever to go is to have a crash.

"I decided to go off the circuit to make it safe for both of us," he insisted. "As it turned out his rear tyres had no traction so even on the paint, which is quite a lot more slippery than the asphalt, I was able to stay ahead."

Vettel's opinion was not a view shared by the Stewards, who handed the 25-year-old a retrospective drive through penalty. It meant the world champion had twenty seconds added on to his race time, approximately the time it takes to complete a drive through, dropping him from second to fifth.

The decision comes shortly after the FIA distributed a note to teams reminding them what their drivers can and cannot do in such situations. The note made clear reference to the fact that drivers cannot gain an advantage by leaving the circuit, which in this instance the Stewards felt Vettel had.

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