Vettel reprimanded and fined - but keeps front row spot

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari. 10.11.2018.
© XPB 

Sebastian Vettel has been fined 25,000 euros and given a reprimand for his actions during Saturday's qualifying session for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Vettel was referred to the race stewards at Interlagos after failing to follow the instructions of officials after he was called into the weighbridge.

He complained afterwards that calling him in to be weighed at that point of the session had been "unfair", adding: "They shouldn’t call us when the conditions are changing like that."

The frustrated Ferrari driver didn't want to waste time with the inspection. He initially refused to turn off the engine, and subsequently damaged the rear scales when he moved off under his own power in a rush to get back to the team garage.

The stewards verdict said that they had "reviewed the video evidence from the on-board camera and pit lane CCTV, viewed team engine telemetry and heard from the driver of car 5 and team representative.

"The stewards observed that the driver did not stop the engine at the time he was directed by the official at the scales, knocked over the cone placed to stop the driver from driving onto the scales, which he then did," the official FIA statement continued.

"At the time he was being shown a sign to have his 'Brakes On' by an official that was standing in front of the car, and while not hitting the official did force him out of the way while driving onto the scales. He then turned off the engine.

"Once the weight was taken he then did not wait for the officials to push the car off the scales.

"While the Stewards accept that he may have mis-understood the indication from the official, he then re-fired the car and drove off the scales, which is not the procedure because it can damage the scales, which in this case he did.

"While no one was hurt by the scales being thrown out from behind the car, and while the Stewards accept that the driver did not drive off the scales in a reckless manner, the procedure is established exactly to prevent damage to the scales or a potentially dangerous situation, which is exactly what was caused.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF71H.

"The stewards found that the driver failed to follow the instructions of the relevant officials for the safe and orderly conduct of the event and order a Reprimand (Non-driving) and a fine of 25,000 euros."

The statement added that the stewards had cleared Vettel of a possible breach of Article 29.1.a.i of the sporting regulations, as Vettel has actually stopped on the weighbridge as requested and a reading of the car's weight had eventually been successfully taken.

That satisfies the requirements of the regulation, meaning that the stewards ruled there had been no breach of the article in question - potentially the key factor in saving Vettel his front row starting position on the grid for Sunday's race.

If Vettel had been found in breach of that article, it's likely that he would have been excluded from the results of qualifying altogether and forced to start the race from the back of the grid.

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