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No action against Vettel after investigation

Sebastian Vettel will not face a penalty for cutting a corner during the Q3 qualifying session, following an investigation by FIA race stewards in Korea.
Red Bull Racing's world champion Sebastian Vettel will start alongside Lewis Hamilton on the front row of the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix in Korea after all, following an investigation by FIA race stewards that decided against imposing any penalties on the world champion.

Vettel had been under review by race control after cutting turn 5 by taking to an escape road between turns 4 and 6 during a slow lap in the middle of Q3. He had been told by his engineer that he needed to get back around quickly if he was to have a final qualifying attempt before the session ended.

While cutting the corner undoubtedly saved him time, it would not have benefited him by 17s which is the margin he had before the end of the session when he eventually crossed the start/finish line.

Accordingly the stewards decided that the action had given Vettel no gain, and that no penalty was required.

"Having heard from the driver and team manager, and having noted that Car 1 started what was its fastest qualifying lap with 17 seconds to spare prior to the chequered flag, the stewards determined that no advantage was gained when car 1 left the track," said the official statement. "Accordingly no breach of Article 20.13 occurred on this occasion and the stewards decide to take no further action."

Drivers had been warned about using the escape road for anything other than legitimate accident-avoidance during the weekend, after it emerged that cars could make up considerable time on the track by shooting through and cutting out turn 5.

Drivers have been told by race director Charlie Whiting that anyone taking to the escape road in the race itself will have to turn around and emerge back at turn 4 rather than continuing through, although drivers have been critical of a requirement that could see them facing oncoming traffic at a dangerous location.

The decision does risk setting the precedence that cars "not respecting track limits" during qualifying on non-timed laps may be seen as acceptable in future.

The stewards' decision over the penalty means that Vettel remains on the front row and Jenson Button stays in third place on the grid - something that Button himself was delighted about, having said before the stewards' decision that "I hope they don't give him a penalty," since that would 'promote' Button onto the dirty side of the grid.

As it is, Button clearly hopes to use the clearer line into turn 1 to his advantage at the start of the race on Sunday, and is aiming to beat Vettel into the corner in second place.



Related Pictures

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15.10.2011- Qualifying, Press conference, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
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27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
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JONO JONES - Unregistered

October 15, 2011 12:21 PM

Not interested in whether or not SV gained any time, but he disobeyed the rules. Every driver was told NOT to used this area or else there would be consequences. The champion disobeyed the instruction which was given but avoided being penalized. It would make for interesting reading if this was done by someone else.

dcts46 - Unregistered

October 15, 2011 4:12 PM

I half agree with some and half with others . Vettel used the escape road to GAIN an advantage - He was instructed by his team to get back to the pits ASAP so he cut the corner . But the advantage he gained did not affect his ability to do another qualifying lap in any way . If he had only just managed to get over the start/finish line by a couple of seconds before the flag came out , I think they would have penalised him . As it was he had plenty to spare . BUT , and its a big but , he didn't know that at the time , and so in my opinion SHOULD have got a penalty for cutting the corner . Does anyone agree ?



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