Mexican GP 2016: Vettel demoted to fifth

Sebastian Vettel has been handed a 10 second time penalty for his actions in the closing stages of the Mexican Grand Prix.

Mexican GP 2016: Vettel demoted to fifth
Vettel waves goodbye to his brief podium. | Photo: Getty Images/Clive Mason

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel has lost the podium position he inherited post-race, after being handed a 10-second time penalty and two penalty points on his licence for dangerous driving in the late stages of the Mexican Grand Prix.

Having been promoted to third, after Max Verstappen was handed a five-second penalty, Vettel will noq be classified in fifth, with Daniel Ricciardo the beneficiary in the situation, moving up to third in remarkable circumstances.

A poorly timed manoeuvre

Angered by Verstappen's creative line through Turns 2 and 3, where the Dutchman cut across the grass, Vettel used a forceful defensive tactic to keep Verstappen's Red Bull team mate Ricciardo behind at Turn 4 on lap 70.

Accused of moving under braking, Vettel has lost his provisional podium position, meaning that he's still without a top three finish since the Italian Grand Prix.

The stewards report - compiled by Garry Connelly, Silvia Bellot, Jorge Rodriguez and former F1 driver Danny Sullivan - reads as follows:

The stewards paid particular attention to the Race Director's Notes from the US Grand Prix (v2) and from this event (point 18).

Notwithstanding the F1 Commission directive to "let the drivers race" we note the concern that has been expressed about manoeuvers involving a change in direction under braking as expressed at the Drivers Briefing at the US Grand Prix and this event.

The telemetry and video evidence shows that the driver of Car 5 did change direction under braking.

Article 27.5 and the Race Director's Notes have essentially three criteria that determine a breach

1.) Driving in a manner potentially dangerous
2.) An abnormal change of direction
3.) Another driving having to take evasive action

The video footage, including the close circuit footage, the broadcast vision, both drivers' onboard cameras plus the telemetry show that there was an abnormal change of direction by Car 5 and this was considered to be potentially dangerous in view of the proximity of the wheels of each car.

The video evidence clearly shows that Car 3 had to take evasive action as a result.

Accordingly as all three criteria have been met, the driver of Car 5 is guilty of a breach of Article 27.5.

Vettel apologetic towards Whiting

It is yet to be seen if Vettel will be punished for his foul-mouthed attack on Race Director Charlie Whiting during the race. Although, it is understood that the Ferrari driver did personally see Whiting at his earliest convenience.

The German's demotion means that Ricciardo has secured third place in the Drivers' Championship for 2016.