‘Absolute joke’: World erupts over F1 farce
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton won the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday to extend his overall lead after Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel committed yet another error under pressure.
Vettel's car crossed the line first but Hamilton won after a time penalty was imposed on Vettel. The German driver reacted angrily after the race, including replacing a No. 1 sign in front of Hamilton's car with a No.2 sign.
"Obviously I'm angry, as you can imagine," Vettel said. "I gave everything I had today and more." Vettel finished in second place with teammate Charles Leclerc third ahead of Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who secured a bonuspoint for the fastest lap. In the standings, Hamilton is 29 points clear of Bottas and already 62 ahead of Vettel heading into the French GP in two weeks' time.
Vettel was leading the race from pole position with a little more than 20 laps remaining. But with Hamilton closing in, Vettel veered onto the grass before swerving back onto the track and forcing Hamilton to slam on his brakes.
Race stewards handed Vettel a five-second time penalty for unsafe re-entry. An exasperated Vettel said on team radio "they're stealing this race from us" - and it clearly festered for the remaining laps - but it was another blunder from the four-time F1 champion following multiple mistakes in losing the past two championships to Hamilton.
Vettel could not contain his anger at the decision taken by governing body FIA's stewards. He felt he had no choice but to momentarily go off track. "Where am I supposed to go?" Vettel said. "This is a wrong world, this is not fair."
And he wasn't alone in his rage directed at the stewards. A tidal wave of criticism flooded social media as furious fans blasted the disappointing finish.
Former British F1 driver Jenson Button said the penalty was "disappointing" for viewers.
"It's sad - it's disappointing when there's a proper fight on out on track between two great, multiple world champions, and then the stewards are able to come in and take that away from us viewers," Button told Sky. "It's a shame. For me, it's a racing incident.
"Yes, Seb made a mistake, but you've got to realise he's doing over 100mph here, you can't just stop the car and stay off the circuit. He's had a snap, come back, and it doesn't deserve a penalty for me, personally. I don't think. But it's a regulation, and they're decided to take it."
With his helmet still on, Vettel walked out of his car and did not stop for post-race interviews, instead marching to the Ferrari garage, perhaps to cooldown, and then marching back.
But he was anything but calm upon his return.
The crowd cheered him, perhaps thinking he had claimed a symbolic victory. Hamilton conceded "that's not the way I wanted to win" but added "I would've got past" if not for the incident.
Hubbub aside, Hamilton showed his longtime rival respect and welcomed him on the top spot on the podium during the celebrations.
Vettel's barren streak is now 15 races, dating back to the Belgian GP last August, while Hamilton is well poised in his bid fora sixth F1 title to move within one of Schumacher's all-time record.
Vettel's season is again proving incredibly frustrating.
As they climbed on the podium, Hamilton showed a touch of class by grabbing Vettel's arm and pulling him alongside him on the top step. Hamilton was asked for his view and some of the crowd jeered him after he said "all I can say is I didn't make the decision." Vettel intervened quickly and told the crowd not to boo Hamilton, but to jeer the stewards' decision itself.
Vettel had started well, getting away cleanly from pole as Hamilton held off Leclerc heading into the first two turns.
But Mercedes has now clinched seven straight wins this season and Ferrari has not won since former driver Kimi Raikkonen'svictory at the United States GP in October last year.
Once again, Vettel seemed to have the race under control only to lose his composure.
Just like he did in 2018. Just like he did in 2017.
- with AP