Sebastian Vettel will take a three-place grid penalty into the United States Grand Prix after speeding under red flags during FP1.

The Ferrari driver was summoned to the FIA Stewards less than an hour before Friday’s second practice session after being picked up for failing to slow sufficiently under the red flag in FP1.



The red flag was triggered by Vettel’s 2019 teammate Charles Leclerc after he spun off in wet conditions before returning to the track in his Sauber and dragging gravel on to the circuit. The brief stoppage was called to allow track marshals to clear the stones before resuming the morning session.

Following an FIA Stewards hearing with Vettel, the Ferrari driver has been slapped with a three-place grid penalty – the same drop Esteban Ocon received for a similar offence during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend last time out.

It increases the pressure on Vettel in the F1 world title race who must not concede more than eight points to Lewis Hamilton in the United States Grand Prix to keep his championship hopes alive. Hamilton can seal the 2018 world crown at Circuit of the Americas this weekend if he wins the race and Vettel fails to finish in second place.

According to the FIA statement, Vettel did not stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU in sectors six and seven.

“Breach of this regulation is seen to be an extremely serious matter,” the FIA statement read. “To be consistent with previous decisions on similar incidents this year, the Stewards assessed the penalty specified above.”

Vettel has also picked up two more penalty points to expand his total to five for the 12-month rolling period.


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