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Stewards confirm Vettel overtake move was legal
25 November 2012
There will be no investigation or action taken regarding an overtaking move that triple world champion Sebastian Vettel made on Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi on lap nine during the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Brazil in Sao Paulo.
TV replays during the race appeared to show that Vettel made his move on Kobayashi through a section of the Interlagos track that was displaying yellow light on the electronic boards, suggesting that the Red Bull had accomplished the move under yellow flags forbidding overtaking.
If that had been the case, then Vettel could have faced a post-race penalty for infringing the rules, which could have seen him penalised by a 20 second penalty amounting to a drive-thru.
Sky Sports F1
commentator Martin Brundle confirmed that he had spoken to one of this weekend' four FIA race stewards, Gary Connolly, and been assured that Vettel's move was completely legal and would not be subject to any sort of post-race investigation or a formal appeal by a rival team such as Ferrari.
"He has absolutely confirmed that they were red-and-yellow boards," Brundle said on the live broadcast. However, he added: "Didn't look much like that from the somewhat grainy and rainy yellow on-board footage, did it?"
The key appears to be that the yellow-looking lights were not flashing, which means that they were not the equivalent of the waved yellow flags requiring drivers to drop their speeds and back away from any overtaking during the demarcated sections of the track.
Immediately before the incident, other parts of the track had started to show the more conventional red-and-yellow striped flags being waved by marshalls, which informs the drivers of slippery and greasy track conditions but does not require the drivers to take any mandatory action as a result of being displayed.
The section of the track through which Vettel made his move for position on the Sauber was not accessible for marshalls to work at, and so their role had been taken by the electronic illuminated boards which showed as a block of steady yellow on the TV video replays.
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