Vettel stripped of third for erratic driving in Mexico

Updated: 

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel has been stripped of his third-place finish at the Mexican Grand Prix, dropping down to fifth with Daniel Ricciardo inheriting the final podium position as the fallout continued from Sunday's dramatic race.

Formula One officials hit Vettel with a 10-second time penalty for driving "dangerously or erratically" while trying to defend fourth from Red Bull's Ricciardo at Autodromo Hermanes Rodriguez.

The penalty means Red Bull duo Ricciardo - who clinched third position in the drivers' standings as a result of his promotion - and Max Verstappen finished third and fourth respectively, with F1 also handing Vettel two penalty points on his licence.

Vettel had finished third behind winner Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg after Verstappen was deemed to have gained an advantage by cutting a corner late in the race, earning him a five-second penalty which was confirmed as the Dutchman prepared for the podium ceremony.

Verstappen's refusal to yield the position during the race forced Vettel to go on the defensive against fifth-placed Ricciardo.

Vettel did successfully hold off Ricciardo, albeit much to the anger of the Australian who was critical of his ex-team-mate afterwards, until he was demoted behind the Red Bull pair following an investigation by race stewards.

Prior to his penalty, Vettel - who unleashed an expletive-laden attack on Verstappen and race director Charlie Whiting over the radio - fronted the media amid a post-race war of words with Red Bull and the German driver did not hold back.

"I think it's pretty clear I was quicker. I was closing the gap, got into DRS and put him under a lot of pressure and he made a mistake, which I think was clear he should have moved. He didn't move," Vettel said.

"Obviously that battle, that fight, being stuck behind him, losing time, fighting with him allowed Daniel to close in. He was on a superior tyre. I think there was one incident into Turn Four which I need to look at again to be honest. I obviously knew that Daniel is quite jumpy and sometimes a bit optimistic with these kind of situations, which partly fair enough, we're racing and for him it's a podium to grasp. Obviously he came back and is now having the advantage on a better tyre. So I need to have a look at that again.

"It was very close, we made contact. I was pretty lucky. I thought initially I have a puncture. But obviously lost out to Max again and had to close again and couldn't put him under serious pressure again before the race ended but I think it was pretty clear that he had to give the position back.

"As far as I learned on the radio he was told, he ignored that. You can understand that adrenaline was pumping and I was very angry. I think when Maurizio came on the radio I calmed down and tried to finish my race."

 

FINAL CLASSIFICATION:

IN THE POINTS

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:40:31.402
2. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) +8.354s
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +20.858s
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +21.323s
5. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +27.313s
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +49.376
7. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) +58.891s
8. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) +1:05.612s
9. Felipe Massa (Williams) +1:16.206s
10. Sergio Perez (Force India) +1:16.798s


TITLE STANDINGS

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 349
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 330 (-19)
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 242 (-107)
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 187 (-162)
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 178 (-171)

1. Mercedes 679
2. Red Bull 422 (-257)
3. Ferrari 370 (-309)
4. Force India 147 (-522)
5. Williams 136 (-543)