Sebastian Vettel has criticized the FIA’s decision to penalize him for failing to fit the tires at the 5-minute mark. However, is not the penalty Vettel is criticizing, but how late it was awarded.
With 22 laps into the race, Vettel was awarded a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for wheels not being fitted at the 5-minute signal. The German criticized how late the decision was made by the FIA, saying the penalty did not help them.
“Unfortunately, we still had a penalty that race control came very late with,” he said after pitting. “It was clear from the start [the infringement]. Perhaps the filter on the coffee machine was full and it took [them] a little longer [to come up with the decision],” he said to Sky.
“The penalty didn’t help us. The tired cooled down completely when I drove through the pit lane. After that, I kept having blue flags,” he explained. “Once I got into the rhythm, it was very good, but we were a long way behind.”
In the end, Vettel had to retire from the race due to gearbox issues, saying the day just didn’t have anything positive.
“We had problems in the last stint and then stopped. It just got worse,” he said. “There was nothing positive today. It just wasn’t meant to be.
“At the moment we need a bigger step to make the difference. But we will get something in the next races to hopefully take this step.
“At the moment we are more in the back of the midfield.”