By Steve Keating
MONTREAL (Reuters) – Sebastian Vettel was angry and heartbroken over a penalty that cost him victory at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday but mostly he was wishing he could have raced in the days when drivers decided the winner not regulations.
Starting from pole position Vettel appeared ready to claim Ferarri’s first victory of the season until, pressured by Lewis Hamilton, he misjudged his entry into a chicane, shot across the grass and re-entered the track while cutting off the Mercedes.
The incident drew the attention of stewards, who deemed Vettel had made an unsafe re-entry and issued the German with a five-second penalty that dropped him to second and gifted victory to championship leader Hamilton.
A furious Vettel vented his anger over the radio and after the race continued to vent at the stewards but later the four-time world champion was more thoughtful than tormented.
“I was just thinking I really love my racing, I’m a purist going back and looking at the old times, the old cars, the old drivers,” said Vettel.
“I just wish I was maybe as good as I am doing what I do but doing it in their time rather than today.”
While angry over the decision, Vettel said his greater concern was the penalty was only a symptom of a bigger problem facing Formula One — over regulation.
Vettel vigorously defended his move saying, “the priority at that point is just to survive”, and common sense dictated the outcome while stewards viewed it as simply a black and white situation with no grey area.
“I rejoined the track and Lewis had to react,” said Vettel. “For me that’s racing.
“A lot of the people I just mentioned, the old Formula One drivers and people in the grandstands, would agree this is just part of racing but nowadays I don’t like it.
“We all sound a bit like lawyers.
“Ultimately it is not the sport I fell in love with.”
Vettel believes regulations are sucking the excitement out of the sport for fans, who he said know what they see and many at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday issued their own verdict, loudly booing Hamilton during the victory ceremony.
“Just the way we are doing these things now is wrong, now we have regulations for everything,” said Vettel.
“When it is clear there is a hazard, like a hole on a pedestrian walk and there needs to be a guy that directs you to the other side of the road otherwise it is the construction company’s fault if you fell into the hole and broke a leg.
“But I think you are just an idiot if you walk into a hole and break a leg.”