Sebastian Vettel accused the stewards of stealing victory from Ferrari at the Canadian Grand Prix after he was demoted to second place by a time penalty.
Lewis Hamilton was putting pressure on Vettel in the second half of the race when the leader ran wide at Turn 3, and slid across the grass before rejoining. Fighting oversteer as he returned to the track, Vettel squeezed Hamilton against the wall as the Mercedes driver hit the brakes to avoid a collision, and the stewards handed Vettel a five-second time penalty that meant he crossed the line first but was classified second.
“I had nowhere to go,” Vettel said over team radio. “Seriously, I had nowhere to go. I didn’t see him…. When you go through the grass and come back you have amazing grip! Where was I supposed to go? I have grass on my wheels. He decides to go that way, if he got to the inside he got past me.”
Told to focus, Vettel added: “I am focused, but they are stealing the race from us.”
After the checkered flag, Vettel then accused the stewards of being “blind” for expecting him to be able to avoid drifting toward Hamilton when rejoining the track.
“No, no, no. Not like that. Not like that, no, no, no. Seriously, you need to be an absolute blind man to think that you can move through the grass and then control your car. I was lucky I didn’t hit the wall. Where the hell am I supposed to go? This is a wrong world. I’m telling you, this is not fair.”
Vettel was absent from parc ferme — where he later returned to swap the position boards so Hamilton’s car sat behind the #2 — but did speak on the podium where he called for fans not to boo when Hamilton was talking.
“First of all, I really enjoyed the race, I enjoyed the crowd, every lap seeing them cheer me on, especially round the hairpin. It was very intense, Lewis was a bit quicker throughout the race but we were able to stay ahead. For the rest, I think I’ve said enough. You should ask the people what they think. I think we had a great show. Lewis showed some great respect. Ask the people.
“The people shouldn’t boo at Lewis. I think he saw what was going on — I don’t think there was any intention to be in his harm’s way. I had trouble to stay on track. The people shouldn’t boo at Lewis, if anything they should boo at these funny decisions.”