Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

maanantai 31. lokakuuta 2016

Mexico GP: Result-changing penalties for Verstappen and Vettel!

Yesterday´s race went deep into my emotions. At first I thought that there wasn´t  awful lot happening on track, but suddenly the whole world turned upside down... I´d better start telling all the way from the start.

All top eight cars got a great start, and Hamilton maintained his lead. However, going into Turn 1 the Briton locked up his front tyres and ended up going on the grass; in other words, he cut the corner and re-joined the track still ahead of teammate Rosberg. The German had a battle of his own with Red Bull´s Verstappen, who was going side by side with Rosberg into Turn 1. Luckily the cars didn´t touch, and Rosberg managed to keep his 2nd place ahead of the Flying Dutchman. There was also a first-turn incident between Sauber´s Nasr and Manor´s Wehrlein, who collided with each other. There was a lot of debris on the track, and safety car was deployed. Red Bull´s Ricciardo pitted right away on the opening lap -for a fresh set of medium Pirellis.

Red Bull´s Verstappen was the next top driver to pit on lap 13 -for medium rubber, similar to his teammate. At this point Sebastian was in P7 right at Massa´s tail. On team radio we heard frustrated Sebastian, who complained, that Massa was only destroying his own race by trying to block his overtaking moves. After all other top drivers had pitted -for a fresh set of medium tyres- Sebastian was leading the race, Hamilton was second, Rosberg third, Verstappen fourth and Ricciardo fifth. Kimi was sixth. Sebastian´s pace seemed excellent. I was so happy; finally Sebastian was driving a strong race! I was happy for Kimi, too, as the Iceman had re-joined the track ahead of Force India´s Hulkenberg. My joy was so so premature...

Sebastian pitted finally on lap 33 -for medium rubber as well. He re-joined the track in P6 behind teammate Kimi. The Iceman was called into the pits for the second time on lap 46 -for another set of medium Pirellis. Ricciardo pitted some five laps later -for a fresh set of yellow-marked soft tyres. It meant the Australian was going to have an aggressive last stint; whereas teammate Verstappen, both Mercedes drivers and Ferrari´s Vettel were on a one-stop strategy.

With ten laps to go, Sebastian was driving a very strong and impressive race. He had decreased the gap to Verstappen into just four seconds. Max had already over 50 laps on his tyres, whereas Sebastian had 20 laps less on his! Sebastian seemed determined to make it on the podium! At the same time Ricciardo was rapidly closing the gap to his ex teammate...

Kimi was also driving a good race. With four laps to go, the Iceman finally managed to get past Hulkenberg -who ended up spinning- and jumped 6th. It was a superb overtaking move from the Finn. Teammate Sebastian was having a wheel-banging battle with Verstappen for the third place. Sebastian planned a move on the Dutchman; however, Max ended up going wide on the grass, which meant cutting the corner. Sebastian was absolutely furious on team radio and shouted that Max should give the position to him for gaining advantage by cutting the corner. Many swearing words told everything about the quadruple world champion´s frustration.

Meanwhile Ricciardo had also got within DRS distance from the German. On the second last lap Ricciardo was absolutely passionate about getting past Sebastian. The Australian made a move on the Ferrari ace; but Sebastian changed his line at the braking and prevented Ricciardo to overtake him. Sebastian´s move was very questionable, as FIA had just announced a couple of weeks earlier, that changing line at the braking was no more allowed by the rules! The incident was going to be investigated after the race.

On the second last lap I decided to vote Sebastian as the Driver of the Day, as the German had fought  in the race like a lion. I was absolutely delighted, that "the old Vettel" was back! Once I had voted, I heard an utterly outrageous, shoddy and inappropriate team radio message by Sebastian! The team tried to tell his driver, what Charlie Whiting had said about the incident with Verstappen, but Sebastian was shouting on the radio that Charlie should f*ck off! When crossing the finish line, Sebastian showed impolite hand gestures to Verstappen, who had finished ahead of him in P3. I was absolutely shocked! I got a shocking flashback of the Turkish GP 2010; Sebastian had collided with teammate Webber and afterwards showed very inappropriate hand gestures implying that Webber was "crazy". I instantly regretted, that I had voted Sebastian as the Driver of the Day. This behaviour was unsportsmanlike and utterly inappropriate for a quadruple world champion! No adrenaline rush or living in the heat of the moment can justify that!

Hamilton won the race, and teammate Rosberg finished the runner-up. Verstappen crossed the line third, but there was more drama to come. The Dutchman was already in the pre-podium room, when it was announced, that he had been given a 5-second time penalty for gaining advantage by cutting the corner, and he dropped down to P4! However, I found the penalty a bit questionable, as Hamilton hadn´t been penalised for similar action in Turn 1 on the opening lap. Sebastian looked so happy on the podium, which I think he didn´t deserve. Until later on in the night the stewards had investigated Sebastian´s incident with Ricciardo, and the German was handed a 10-second time penalty for changing the line at the braking! So after all the penalties Ricciardo was 3rd, Verstappen 4th and Sebastian finally dropped down to P5! What a dramatic and heart-stopping race! Kimi finally finished 6th, but all my thoughts were with Sebastian, whose behaviour I found absolutely impossible to understand.

I look up to Sebastian as a role model and he´s a huge idol to me. I understand that even a quadruple world champion is a human being, and everybody makes mistakes. In the heat of the moment and in an adrenaline rush you might say things without considering, if they are nice or not. But such outrageous and shoddy language and inappropriate hand gestures, which Sebastian used, cannot be justified by anything at all! Although Sebastian´s actions can´t be defended or accepted in any way, I would like him to know, that I still stand by him; I admire him from the bottom of my heart, even though I don´t always agree with his action on track. I wish I could personally tell him that!

P.S. My thoughts on the race can be read also here:

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