Vettel docked 20 seconds, drops to fifth
22 July 2012 – Sebastian Vettel has been demoted to fifth place by the Hockenheim race stewards. This happens as a 20-second time penalty is applied after the German overtook Jenson Button for second position outside the confines of the race track.
The incident occurred on the penultimate lap of the race, with Vettel having previously been overhauled by Button after the lapped Lewis Hamilton held him up. The Red Bull passed on the outside line of the Turn 6 hairpin, but accelerated past Button while travelling in the run-off area which is outside the white line delineating the circuit.
During post-race interviews, Vettel denied that Button had expressed any dissatisfaction but television coverage had already revealed the pair discussing the moment. The demotion, which comes as a decision of adjudicators including ex driver Derek Warwick, was handed out after the FIA-appointed team heard the opinions of both drivers and viewed evidence.
This means Kimi Räikkönen picks up his fourth podium result of the season for Lotus, with Kamui Kobayashi celebrating a career-best result of fourth for Sauber. Vettel has effectively lost eight World Championship points, which leaves him 44 behind leader Fernando Alonso at the halfway point of the season. The aforementioned Räikkönen, despite being yet to win a race, has now jumped ahead of Lewis Hamilton and now sits fourth overall.