Belfast Telegraph

Hamilton top man as Vettel appeal gets thrown out

Dismissed: Sebastian Vettel has lost the FIA review into the incident with Lewis Hamilton
Dismissed: Sebastian Vettel has lost the FIA review into the incident with Lewis Hamilton

By Philip Duncan

Ferrari have lost their review into Sebastian Vettel's five-second penalty at the Canadian Grand Prix, confirming Lewis Hamilton as the race winner.

Twelve days after Vettel was demoted to runner-up in Montreal, punished for rejoining the circuit in a dangerous manner, Ferrari presented new evidence they hoped would overturn the controversial result.

But following a 35-minute presentation by Ferrari's sporting director Laurent Mekies at the Circuit Paul Ricard ahead of this week's French Grand Prix, the stewards took less than two hours to announce their original decision will stand.

A statement from the FIA read: "There are no significant and relevant new elements which were unavailable to the parties at the time of the competition concerned."

The ruling of Formula One's governing body will come as a significant blow to both Vettel and Ferrari, with Mekies having earlier claimed that the team's evidence would prove their star driver's innocence.

"We believe that this evidence is quite overwhelming when it comes to establishing that Sebastian did not breach any regulations," he said.

Ferrari announced their decision to appeal against Vettel's penalty immediately after the race in Canada before withdrawing their challenge four days later.

However, Article 14 of the FIA's International Sporting Code - the Right of Review - provided them with another avenue to pursue the case if they could unearth significant fresh evidence.

The Scuderia offered what they regarded as seven new elements to the stewards, including telemetry analysis, a variety of video and still images, and GPS data from both Vettel's and Hamilton's cars during the incident on lap 48 in Montreal.

They also included video analysis by Sky Sports' pundit Karun Chandhok as well as footage from Vettel's face camera.

The stewards dismissed five of the seven elements of Ferrari's evidence as having been "available before the end of the competition".

They added that Vettel's face camera was "new but not significant as the evidence can be seen within other available video".

Chandhok's analysis was also dismissed as "personal opinion by a third party".

Vettel will now head into Sunday's eighth round of the championship in the south of France 62 points behind Hamilton.

"It not a surprise," said the four-time world champion, reflecting on the verdict. "We don't share the opinion of the stewards during the race. We thought we could bring something new. It is disappointing that it doesn't go further, but that is it, and we have to move on."

Asked how he can change the sport to avoid further penalties, Vettel joked: "Retire. At least then I am not in trouble anymore. We have so many pages in our regulations if you want, you find the paragraph that suits. How can you change it? Just burn the papers."

Vettel has not won since last August's Belgian Grand Prix - a run of 15 races - while rival Hamilton has triumphed 11 times during that period. His Mercedes team are unbeaten this season.

The Silver Arrows were again top of the time charts in both practice sessions on Friday, with Hamilton fastest in the morning before Valtteri Bottas got the better of his team-mate in the day's concluding running. Charles Leclerc finished third with Vettel fourth.

Hamilton, who is 29 points clear of Bottas, was hauled in front of the stewards on Friday for allegedly impeding Max Verstappen in practice.

Hamilton ran off at the fourth bend after losing control of his Mercedes on entry to the chicane. He then came back on to the circuit with Verstappen leaving the track to avoid Hamilton's recovering Mercedes.

The world champion held his left hand up to apologise to Verstappen before heading to see the stewards, who took no further action.

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