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2019 F1

F1 remains split over Vettel penalty controversy

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Two days after the Canadian GP, Formula 1 remains split over whether the penalty that cost Sebastian Vettel victory was right or wrong.

Nico Rosberg, who had a difficult relationship with his fellow German during his career, has fiercely sided with the stewards and backed Lewis Hamilton’s win.

“He (Vettel) always think he is in the right and blames other people,” said the former Mercedes driver.

“After the race, all those gestures and disrespectful comments, it was just unnecessary.”

But there is much more support for Vettel than opposition.

“I had an identical situation with Lewis in 2016 in Monaco,” said Daniel Ricciardo. “In my opinion it was more dangerous than Canada but he got no penalty.

“Either way I think it was normal — a tough fight.”

Even Corriere della Sera, an Italian newspaper that is often critical of Vettel, says both the German and Ferrari were “robbed”.

Daniil Kvyat said: “If he had done it five times in a row or something then yes, maybe a penalty. I think the punishment was too harsh.”

The Russian driver added: “Every time I go to the stewards, I don’t know what to expect.

“They have a difficult job, and it’s not easy for them. But we know that the problem is a lack of consistency in the decision making.”

1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, an always outspoken critic, is similarly supportive of Vettel.

“The penalty is embarrassing for Formula 1,” he told motorsport-magazin.com.

“This was a driving mistake, and Lewis could easily have gone off the gas. It wasn’t dirty driving. You can’t always say ‘Oh please, drive past me!’. This isn’t Monopoly.”

Even Hamilton himself has admitted he would have behaved “exactly as Sebastian did”.

Casey Stoner, a former MotoGP champion, called it “the worst decision” in F1 history.

“It’s times like these we miss Charlie Whiting,” he said.

Germany’s Bild newspaper reports that, even three hours after Vettel’s post-race shenanigans, the German was still insisting: “I don’t regret anything.”

Another newspaper, Italy’s La Stampa, summed up the situation succinctly, amid talk that Ferrari will surely fail in its appeal against the decision.

“Whether the penalty was right or wrong, it changes nothing. It’s 7-0 for Mercedes,” it said.

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