Sebastian Vettel steered his way through the first lap drama of the Hungarian Grand Prix and relentlessly pursued Esteban Ocon to initially secure his second podium of the 2021 season, before a post-race investigation led to a disqualification.
Vettel’s teammate Lance Stroll was caught up in the opening lap melee and is raring to come back stronger in Belgium after the summer break.
Aston Martin has announced their intention to appeal, Tweeting: “The 18 points loss is disappointing for the team, but it doesn’t take away from an otherwise flawless drive from Sebastian. Today we showed that our car has strong race pace. Onwards and upwards.”
The stewards released the following statement regarding Vettel’s disqualification:
“The Stewards heard from the team representative.
“After the race it was not possible to take a 1.0 litre sample of fuel from car 5.
“The team was given several opportunities to attempt to remove the required amount of fuel from the tank, however it was only possible to pump 0.3 litres out.
“During the hearing in presence of the FIA Technical Delegate and the FIA Technical Director the team principal of Aston Martin stated that there must be 1,44 litres left in the tank, but they are not able to get it out. This figure is calculated using the FFM or injector model.
“Given this situation, car No. 5 is not in compliance with the requirements of Art. 6.6 FIA Technical Regulations. According to Art. 6.6.2 competitors must ensure that a 1.0 litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time. The procedure was followed however the 1.0 litre sample of fuel was unable to be taken.
“The Stewards determine to apply the standard penalty for technical infringements. Therefore they took into account, that it shall be no defence to claim that no performance advantage was obtained.
“Competitors are reminded that they have the right to appeal certain decisions of the Stewards, in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Article 10.1.1 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, within the applicable time limits.”
Speaking before his disqualification, Vettel was full of praise for race winner Esteban Ocon, saying “Second place is a great result and we can be proud of our performance, but when you are that close to victory, you always want more. At the start of the race, I could see the contact ahead of me, so I took the inside line and found myself with the leading cars. From then on, I felt like I tried to take the lead for the entire 70 laps, but it is so difficult to overtake here. I think we were quicker for most of the race, but there was not enough of a difference to make an overtake because it was very hard to follow in the dirty air. I tried to pressure Esteban [Ocon] into a mistake, but he did not make a single one. Congratulations to Esteban, it is his day and I am very happy for him. He deserved the victory. I will sleep well tonight knowing I gave it my all. We have a good fight on our hands in the midfield with Alpine and AlphaTauri, so we will take the summer break to rest up and come back ready to fight in Belgium.”
For Stroll, it was a frustrating day that ended much earlier than anticipated.
“It is really frustrating to have to retire so early in the race. Once the incident at the front of the field happened, I took the line to the inside to try and avoid making contact, but I locked up under braking. As soon as that happened, I knew I would not make the corner because it was so slippery and tricky out there. I did all I could to avoid contact but, unfortunately, my race was over. We will take the break to regroup and we want to come back stronger in Belgium,” added Stroll.