Sebastian Vettel has called on the FIA to take a “common sense” approach over red flag rules in Formula 1, after he was penalised following United States Grand Prix practice.

Vettel will drop three places on the Austin grid from wherever he qualifies after being found guilty of speeding under red flags - caused by 2019 Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc’s spinning Sauber – during wet conditions in opening practice.

The Ferrari driver was summoned to the stewards, who argued Vettel did not stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU in sectors six and seven and therefore handed him a three-place grid penalty.

When asked if he felt he had slowed sufficiently, Vettel replied: “Yes.

“I think there should be common sense with the rules that we have. Lining out 27.7s precisely as an act of not complying with the rules… I think it’s wrong, I think I slowed down, I had a good look around.

“I think the rules are clear as well so we know but I think this is the first time we had this in the wet and in the wet the target is a lot slower so you literally have to stop to 30kph or 40kph to bring down the delta, which probably I should do next time,” he added.

“But in my opinion it’s not the right thing because if there is a car behind you it might run into you but it’s more important that you don’t get a penalty.”

Vettel, who faces an uphill battle in his bid to stop title rival Lewis Hamilton from clinching a fifth world championship at this weekend’s race, suggested there was a fault with the timing system.

“They found it took too long and I think it’s pretty straightforward,” he explained. “I think there might have been an issue with the timing, with the system. I was aware I slowed down and not much more to say.

“They were very specific, saying they took 27.7s to slow down. I saw the red flag and slowed down, had a look around to see if there was a car potentially stuck in the wall or if there was one around Turn 9 or 10 and then slowed down significantly to comply with the rules.”

Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon were both slapped with grid penalties for similar red flag infringements in separate incidents earlier this season in Australia and Japan respectively.

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