Nico Rosberg says Sebastian Vettel’s Canadian Grand Prix penalty was “fully deserved” for re-joining the track in an unsafe manner and feels the pressure from Lewis Hamilton exposed a weakness from the four-time Formula 1 world champion.

In a post-race video review, the 2016 F1 world champion says he felt in the minority for backing the decision to penalise Vettel for his move to defend his lead during the Canada race. The Ferrari driver ran off track at Turn 4 on Lap 48 and cut back across the circuit defending against Hamilton to retain his lead.

The FIA race stewards duly investigated the incident and handed the German driver a five-second penalty during the race. With Hamilton finishing directly behind Vettel, the reigning F1 world champion inherited the victory from the German driver who protested his case over team radio, and initially refused to take part in the podium ceremony, before returning “to show respect” to Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.

Rosberg feels the FIA penalty was fully justified as Vettel showed a weakness against Hamilton in wheel-to-wheel combat.

“I’ve look at the replays and Lewis would have been in the wall had he stayed there,” Rosberg said. “It is very clear it was an unsafe return to the track, that’s the rule, it is very clear you have to return safely. The penalty is deserved in that case.

“The pressure is on lap after lap and boom he goes off the track. Vettel goes off the track and comes back on track. Vettel screams ‘I had dirt on my tyres, I was out of control, where do you want me to go, I was struggling to control the car and I couldn’t see Lewis,’ okay but Lewis was there and the rule says when you go off the track you need to re-join safely.

“Vettel went all the way across and I think he could have easily left more space. Especially in the later phase in the braking, he went all the way over and Lewis saw it as a dangerous situation and had to back out of it.

“My father said it is probably 60/40 – probably 60 for it and 40 not. He was out of control and couldn’t do better than that. But I said so what, you still have to return safely to the track so the penalty was deserved. It is not a valid excuse. It is a fully deserved penalty.”

Rosberg also backed the FIA rules and decision made by the race stewards despite the controversy triggered by the race-deciding flashpoint.

“You need a rule at some point. At some point you will see gloves off, I know people want to see that, but it gets too dangerous so you need a rule and the rule needs to say something. The penalty is fully deserved.

“This is Sebastian’s weakness. He complains over the radio again and again instead of concentrating on the driving and not getting those five seconds ahead when he was already 3.3 seconds ahead. Focus and nail those laps, you still have a chance to win this thing. That was a weakness again from Vettel.”

Ferrari launched its intent to appeal the decision by the FIA race stewards meaning it has 96 hours to provide new evidence and lodge an official protest.

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