Sebastian Vettel’s Championship chances have been dealt a blow as he is sent to the back of the grid in Abu Dhabi.
Sebastian Vettel has been sent to the back of the grid after stewards excluded him from the results of qualifying. Vettel had stopped on track at the end of the session, having qualified in a provisional third place.
The stewards agreed that his actions were acceptable under the rules of force majeure, however the post-session scrutineering report stated that an insufficient amount of fuel remained in the car for sampling.
After an afternoon practice session disrupted by brake problems, Vettel had rallied strongly during qualifying and was consistently near the top of the order during the session. However, as the chequered flag came out, under instruction from his team the World Champion pulled over to the side of the track and got out of his Red Bull RB8.
After several hours of deliberation during which telemetry was studied and Red Bull Racing stated their case, the official decision was handed down. Vettel was deemed to have infringed article 6.6.2 of the 2012 technical regulations which states: Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the event. Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.
Vettel will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from 24th and last on the grid.
The decision echoes the punishment handed to McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in Barcelona. Hamilton had taken provisional pole, though a fuelling mistake saw the Briton not complete his in-lap, instead pulling to the side of the Circuit de Catalunya. Starting last, Hamilton battled back to finish the race in eighth position.