F1: Canadian GP Victory Yanked From Vettel and Ferrari After Wildly Controversial Penalty

The five-second forfeiture meant that Vettel had to settle for P2 despite crossing the finish line first, ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

byCaleb Jacobs| UPDATED Jun 9, 2019 5:32 PM
F1: Canadian GP Victory Yanked From Vettel and Ferrari After Wildly Controversial Penalty

Sunday featured a dramatic spike at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes captured yet another Formula 1 victory despite Sebastian Vettel crossing the finish line first in his scarlet Ferrari SF90. 

While the racing throughout was enough to provide intrigue for spectators, Vettel leading most of the contest from pole and satisfying those bored of 2019's Silver Arrows dominance, it was the race's second half which created the definitive storyline. The Canadian Grand Prix circuit, which is beloved by both fans and drivers, allowed entertaining on-track action with its mix of difficult turns and minimal run-off; the latter was the star as Vettel failed to navigate successfully through Turn 4 on lap 48. 

Upon rejoining the pavement after sliding through the weeds, Vettel made it out ahead of the pursuing Hamilton, who was in P2. Many believed it to be a clean maneuver, likely being written off as a racing incident, but the stewards found a different conclusion post-review.

Vettel was dealt a five-second penalty for his actions, much to his and the Tifosi's chagrin. This sparked a fire underneath the German, who claimed his first pole position since Germany 2018 on Saturday, as he took to team radio to express his anger:

Now, the four-time champion was left to build a gap that would award him P1 at race's end; essentially, Vettel had to lead Hamilton by over five seconds at the end of lap 70 if he wished to stand atop the podium. This was a tough task, though—too tough as Hamilton's Mercedes was able to stick to the back of the No. 5 Ferrari without the need to maneuver around it.

Instead of claiming their first victory of the year, Ferrari and Vettel languished in second place with fellow Scuderia driver Charles Leclerc finishing third.

Drama poured over into the podium celebration where a reserved Hamilton was mindful not to over-celebrate. Vettel, who did not join the other podium placers in parc ferme, stood on the platform without emotion. Meanwhile, Leclerc was reserved as well to show respect for his veteran teammate.

Afterward, Vettel walked over to his car and moved the P1 marker in front of it, swapping it with his second-place and decisively placing that ahead of Hamilton's car. Cameras additionally showed Vettel making his way to the FIA garage area to have what was undoubtedly a heated discussion with the race officials.

As a result, Hamilton claimed his fifth victory of the 2019 season while Mercedes notched its seventh, sweeping every round up to this point. He now leads teammate Valtteri Bottas by 29 points in the World Drivers' Championship. Likewise, Mercedes healthily extended its gap to Ferrari with a total of 295 points to Maranello's 172.