F1: Sebastian Vettel penalized three-grid spots in controversial call at COTA

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

"I think I saw the red flag, I slowed down, had a look around [to see] where was the vehicle potentially stuck in the wall - if there was one around Turn 9 and 10 - and then slowed down significantly to comply with the rules", said the German.

The red flags came out in the first session after Sauber's Charles Leclerc, Vettel's future Ferrari team mate, spun at turn eight and went off, scattering gravel across the track.

"I think there should be common sense with the rules that we have, " Vettel added. I should have slowed to 30kph but then maybe a vehicle behind me would have crashed into me, and what's the point of that? "It's going to be wet tomorrow I think and potentially on Saturday, so it's going to be a tricky weekend and nothing is given".

"In my opinion it's not the right thing because if there's a vehicle behind you, it might run into you, but more important that you don't get a penalty".

"You only have a couple of milliseconds to slow down and sometimes you get it in the right place, sometimes you don't..."

Hamilton said he had met Schumacher at a number of F1 races last year when he attended as a guest and was impressed by the 19-year-old's attitude.

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Hit the Beach in Melbourne!
And Prince Harry couldn't agree more, adding that he hopes Australian men will get involved in their feminist efforts. Van Dartel said the way Harry and Meghan interacted with all the children, including Luke, was lovely.

There was much support for Vettel in the paddock with Red Bull boss Christian Horner leading criticism of the red flag rule.

"It's actually a rubbish rule but you know, they've (the race stewards) have got to have consistency because otherwise it makes a bit of a farce of all the regulations if you have a penalty for one race but not at another", Horner told Sky Sports.

The Ferrari driver was reported for a marginal speeding offence committed under red flag conditions. Give him a penalty, give him a fine or something and give the money to charity or something like that but to give him a three-place penalty for how much over the limit was he?

Following Verstappen's incident in Q1, a late lap from Hartley eliminated Fernando Alonso in 16th place, although the Spaniard was quick to point out on team radio that both Toro Rossos will start behind him in the race due to their penalties.

While Ferrari has brought a floor upgrade to Austin that could change things, its form over the past three races at three different circuits paints a very consistent picture of the performance deficit in qualifying.

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