Vettel: I left Alonso enough room
10 September 2012 – Sebastian Vettel has repeated that he did not deliberately try to edge Fernando Alonso off the race track in Italy. In what was almost a carbon copy of an incident between the pair last year, it was this time the Ferrari which bounced down the grass verge.
Last year, when battling for the lead, Vettel had placed two wheels onto the grass to pull off a dramatic overtake for the lead in the early stages of the race. On this occasion, the roles were reversed as Alonso was pushing to move towards the front on Lap 26. Unlike 12 months ago, the entire car was off-track as the Spaniard reacted angrily.
When asked if his subsequent drive-through penalty was fair, Vettel replied:
“From my point of view, it’s not, because I think I left enough room. It is extremely difficult and I don’t really know what happened to Fernando. All I saw was that, when I checked the mirror, he was in the dirt. He eventually passed me because he had more speed.”
After 13 races and with seven remaining in his second season of title defence, Vettel sits fourth in the Drivers’ Championship and 39 points behind Alonso. The German is sure that he can still become the first driver to win a hat-trick of titles since Michael Schumacher.
“For sure,” Vettel continues. “I don’t think anything has changed. Obviously, this isn’t a very good result for us because we didn’t finish and others did. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go, but we do need to improve the car; we could have finished fourth or fifth, something like that, but overall the pace wasn’t there.”
After Nico Rosberg squeezed both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton off the race track in Bahrain, the FIA's Charlie Whiting released this statement at Silverstone:
'Any driver defending his position on a straight and before any braking area may use the full width of the track during his first move provided no significant portion of the car attempting to pass is alongside his. Whilst defending in this way the driver may not leave the track without justifiable reason.
For the avoidance of doubt, if any part of the front wing of the car attempting to pass is alongside the rear wheel of the car in front this will be deemed to be a 'significant portion.'
Next weekend sees F1 head to Singapore, where Vettel won for Red Bull in 2011.
A side-by-side view of the 2011 and 2012 incidents can be viewed at: