F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar
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Sebastian Vettel has broken his silence nearly three weeks after his unfortunate disqualification at the Hungarian Grand Prix, calling for the rule that punished him to be amended. Vettel was disqualified after having finished second in the race as a result of his team being unable to present the FIA with an adequate fuel sample afterwards.
F1 teams are required to give the authorities a full litre fuel sample after each race, which Aston Martin failed to do. The team argued that the car had suffered a fuel system failure, initially seeking to appeal against the ruling.
However, it became clear soon afterwards that the decision was unlikely to be changed in spite of Aston Martin’s claims.
It meant that the German lost out on the 18 points he had earned with his impressive driving that day, which included holding off Lewis Hamilton to finish in second.
The four-time world champion is languishing in twelfth place in the Drivers’ Championship standings after a season so far blemished by crashes and grid penalties. The year started in terrible fashion when Vettel crashed into Esteban Ocon and got five points on his superlicence for his troubles at the opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
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The 34-year-old spoke to the media about the “bitter” affair in his press conference before the Belgian Grand Prix weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.
Vettel said: “I guess rules are rules.
“We didn’t know we had a problem to be honest. When we checked, the fuel wasn’t in the car and we got disqualified. but we thought the fuel was in the car.
“So I don’t know for future whether there is a better way to handle this, but I don’t think there’s much that could have been done.
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“It’s very bitter because first I think we did not have an advantage, second there was no intention or no way we could explain that too little fuel was in the car. So something happened over the course of the race, a leakage or something and then the fuel wasn’t there anymore.”
Vettel went on to plead for more leniency from the FIA when it comes to matters like what happened to him in Budapest.
“You don’t wish that [for] anyone else to happen,” he said.
“For the future I hope that nobody suffers the same problem. [The FIA] should think about whether the rules should be addressing that.
“I know it’s very difficult to find the right wording, but we didn’t do anything knowingly wrong and it wasn’t a mistake from our side.
“It was obviously a good day that didn’t have a great ending. What hurts us most is the points.”
Vettel was certainly correct in that final assertion, with Aston Martin sat in seventh in the Constructors’ Championship behind AlphaTauri by 20 points.
First practice at the Belgian Grand Prix weekend gets underway on Friday. Hamilton currently leads the Drivers’ Championship standings by just eight points from Max Verstappen.
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