Sebastian Vettel has criticised FIA race director Charlie Whiting for not ordering Red Bull Racing to give Jenson Button back his position in the closing laps of last weekend’s German Grand Prix if Vettel’s overtaking move off the track was illegal.
The double world champion maintains that his move around the outside of the hairpin for second-place was valid, and that he went off the track to avoid a collision, not to gain an advantage.
The Red Bull driver was given a post-race 20-second penalty, which bumped him from second to fifth place.
“For me it was fine, that’s why I did it. In the end it wasn’t fine, which is why I picked up the penalty, I guess,” said Vettel during preparations for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“Obviously it would help to get feedback from the race director as soon as possible in that case, or from the team if we could get any idea from the outside. It would help.
“The only thing I wanted to do was avoid an accident. Surely, if there had been gravel then I would not have gone in the gravel. I did what I did, and nothing can change.”
Britain’s Button, however, says there was plenty of room on the race track for both cars and that Vettel just put his foot down early and took a wider, faster line off the circuit.
“I left him room on the exit,” confirmed the McLaren driver. “If you look at the throttle trace, he got on the throttle very early – unusually early. There’s a rule which says that you can’t gain an advantage off the circuit, which is what he gained. The rule is what it is. We all have to abide by it.”
The Englishman was the first to inform Vettel that he was under investigation as the two waited to be weighed before stepping onto the podium.
“I thought I’d let him know,” he said. “He can think of something to say [to the stewards] then. It’s a difficult moment. When you’re being investigated by the stewards you don’t want to say too much, it’s the best way.”