Nico Rosberg: Vettel’s penalty was fully deserved

Montreal, Canada

Canadian Grand Prix – 2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg has weighed in on the ongoing debate about Sebastian Vettel’s time penalty during Sunday’s race.

Speaking as part of his post-race analysis on his own YouTube channel, Nico Rosberg offered his opinion on the time penalty that cost Sebastian Vettel victory in Sunday’s race. The former Mercedes driver and contemporary rival of Vettel made it very clear that he felt his compatriot was completely in the wrong regarding the mid-race incident: “Vettel goes off and then comes back on the track screaming “I had dirt on my tyres, I was out of control, where do you want me to go?”, and saying “I couldn’t see Lewis.”

“OK, great, but Lewis is there and the rule says when you go off the track, you need to rejoin safely. I think Sebastian could have easily left more space, especially when Lewis had to brake. He could have left room but he didn’t, he went right over and left no space for Lewis. That’s where Lewis had to back out and he would have been in the wall had he not braked. It’s very clear that it was an unsafe return to the track, and a penalty is deserved in that case.”

“Being out of control is not a valid excuse, so the penalty was deserved.”

Rosberg went on to say that he felt Vettel still had a chance to rescue the situation but allowed his own red mist to ruin what could have been a race victory: “Then you hear him complaining and complaining instead of focusing on the job at hand, and instead of concentrating on pulling those five seconds out when it was already 3.3 seconds. Focus, nail those laps, and you have a chance to win this thing. That’s a weakness of Vettel, and he has such strong self belief that he’s always right and blaming other people and he just loses focus in those moments.”

“Then, all the gestures and disrespect towards the stewards by calling them blind men, it’s just unnecessary. All of us love the entertainment but it’s not very good to that. He’s the one who made the mistake. Imagine if Lewis had not backed out of the situation, there’s not enough space and Lewis would have been in the wall. That’s the situation that needs to be judged.”

Having been a long-time rival of Vettel, Rosberg says, not for the first time, it was the Ferrari driver’s cracking under pressure that put him in that situation in the first place: “When Lewis and Sebastian are there battling and when Sebastian is put under that pressure, that’s when we see him make these mistakes. I want nothing more than to see Sebastian bringing the fight to Lewis and I was rooting for him out there but, once again, he made that mistake.”

“It sucks to have these kind of penalties, we want to see great racing. I know I’m in the minority but I’m completely neutral. We want to see racing, and we want to see Vettel win in a case like this. But you need a rule because some of the guys are too crazy out there. If gloves are off, it’s too dangerous. In this case, sticking to the rules and the penalty is fully deserved.”


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Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website.

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