Sir Jackie Stewart believes that Ferrari are doing the right thing in appealing the penalty that Sebastian Vettel received during the Canadian Grand Prix at the weekend – a penalty which added five seconds on to his finishing time, costing him the win to Lewis Hamilton.
At Turn 4 of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Vettel suffered a wheel lock-up which resulting in him swaying off-track, and in his attempts to get back in line, managed to maintain his position ahead of Hamilton after pulling across.
The stewards deemed the offence worthy of the five-second penalty, catalysing an apoplectic response from the German, and Ferrari, who believed that the punishment was severe.
Stewart, who turned 80 on Tuesday, has also questioned the severity of the penalty and is “damn sure” Vettel had no idea where Hamilton was when he returned to the track.
“There is certainly room for an appeal because it was a genuine error of judgment by Sebastian,” the Scot told the Press Association.
“You shouldn’t get punished for an error of judgement, unless you spin and damage the car. The decision by the stewards was rather severe.
“When Sebastian came off the grass he had nowhere to go. His car was carrying a huge amount of speed.
“In my mind, I am 100 per cent sure that he wasn’t blocking Lewis. I am damn sure he didn’t even know where Lewis was in the milliseconds that the incident took place. He had no option but to do what he did.”
Mercedes have dominated the start to the 2019 season and even though it looked like their six-race winning run would come to an end in Canada, they benefited from the punishment to Vettel to claim the victory via Hamilton, who extended his own lead in the driver’s championship.