Rosberg weighs in on Vettel penalty

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Words: Nile Bijoux   |   Photos Formula 1
11 Jun 2019

Former world champion Nico Rosberg has offered his two cents on the Vettel/Hamilton debate currently raging amongst Formula 1 fans.

In a vlog posted to his Youtube channel, Rosberg went against the tide of social media and said that Vettel deserved the five-second penalty that ultimately lost him the race.

"Vettel was screaming 'I had dirt on my tyres, I was out of control, where do you want me to go? I was struggling to control the car, and I couldn't see Lewis.'

"Okay great. But Lewis is there. The rule says when you go off the track, you need to rejoin safely. So Vettel went all the way across and I think he could have easily left a little bit more space, especially in the latter phase like after Lewis started braking. He could easily have left more space, but he didn't.

"He went right, right, all the way there and left hardly any space to Lewis. And so Lewis saw it as a dangerous situation because Vettel was coming more and more, so he had to back out of it.

"I looked at the replay many, many times. Lewis would have been in the wall had he stayed there because right afterwards Vettel continued to move over more and more and it was so tight that Lewis would have touched either Vettel or the wall.

"So it is very, very clear that unfortunately it was an unsafe return to the track. That is the rule. You have to return safely and that is the way it is. A penalty is deserved in that case."

Rosberg even spoke to his father Keke, also a former F1 driver, who said: “It's probably 60/40 – 60 penalty, 40 not.”

Rosberg asked, “why 40 not?”

'Well, because he was just out of control and he could not do better than that because he had dirt on his tyres and was coming from the grass and everything'.

"I said, 'Okay, fine I know that. But so what? You still have to return safely and if you are out of control then you are not returning safely.'

"So that is it. Penalty deserved. It is not a valid excuse: 'Oh I was out of control, I had dirty tyres and I couldn't see Lewis.' It is not a valid excuse unfortunately. So the penalty is full deserved. Absolutely full[y] deserved penalty."


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