The Associated Press MONTREAL (AP) — Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was red with rage at being stripped of a much-needed win at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.
So the four-time Formula One world champion took matters into his own hands — literally.
After getting out of his car with his helmet still on and stomping back to his garage, Vettel then made his way to the post-race grid.
The Montreal crowd watched in amazement as Vettel theatrically grabbed the big No. 1 sign parked in front of race winner Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes car and moved it to where his Ferrari should have been in the empty No. 2 slot.
Then Vettel did the opposite with the No. 2 sign, hauling it over and dramatically plonking it in front of Hamilton’s car.
The crowd cheered, as if witnessing a moral victory.
“Obviously I’m angry, as you can imagine,” Vettel said. “I gave everything I had today and more.”
Vettel had started from pole position and crossed the finish line narrowly ahead of Hamilton.
But Vettel had been given a five-second time penalty for an incident which happened with a little more than 20 laps to go. That gave the five-time F1 champion Hamilton his fifth win in seven races and 78th overall.
Vettel, meanwhile, has not won in 15 races — a dismal run at the most storied team in F1.
His mistake was basic, unfair time penalty or not.
He went into the grass with Hamilton pressuring behind him, and then swerved back onto the track, forcing Hamilton to brake suddenly to avoid crashing into the barriers to the right of the track.
But amid the anger, Vettel did have a point.
F1 carved its reputation in decades of daredevil acts and used to be famed for such high-speed drama, but here it was deemed preferable to fine Vettel for an unsafe re-entry back onto the track.
Vettel took a swipe at governing body FIA, saying the reasoning of the stewards went against the spirit of motor racing.
“It is not making our sport popular. People want to see us race, and it was racing. Just a shame when we have these funny decisions,” Vettel said. “I disagree with where the sport is now. It’s not the one I fell in love with.”
Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc finished third, with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas in fourth place and taking a bonus point for the fastest lap.