Ricciardo penalty too harsh - Vettel

By on Thursday, April 3, 2014
Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel believes that the penalty handed out to his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo for this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix is overly harsh.

Ricciardo was deemed to have been released unsafely from his third pit stop at the Malaysian Grand Prix and was slapped with a stop and go penalty, along with a 10 place grid penalty for this weekend's race in Bahrain.

The FIA has tightened up on pit lane transgressions to avoid an incident similar to last year's German Grand Prix, when a cameraman was struck by a wheel which was not properly attached to Mark Webber's car.

But Vettel reckons Ricciardo's penalty is too harsh.

"I personally think that the penalty that Daniel has received is too harsh for him being the driver," he said.

"There is not much that Daniel could have done much better, as he reacted to the lights that he had in front of him. As soon as the mistake was realised he was told to stop, which he did.

"So there was nothing that he as a driver could have done differently or better. It is quite hard to pay the price for this a race later with dropping down 10 spots on the starting grid. Of course it is the same rule for all of us, if something similar happens to any other driver. Of course we have discussed this rule at the drivers’ briefing."

Vettel is also expecting Ricciardo to be quicker than him on occasion in 2014.

"He had a very strong weekend in Australia, and not only because of where he finished the race, but also because of the entire weekend," Vettel said of his new team-mate. "He didn’t make any mistakes, didn’t go off-track and had a very good qualifying session in tricky conditions. Also he had another good weekend in Malaysia. I was very sure from the beginning that he will try to give me the hardest time possible, and so far he has delivered exactly this.

"I am also sure that there will be days where he will be quicker, and I will not be happy about this. From my point of view I will of course try and limit these days, and from his point of view he will try and make sure that these days happen very often. But that is I guess the normal passion between team mates. I am very happy to race him on the track, and as we have the same car I am sure we will probably be fighting for the same piece of track occasionally."

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