As if the 2012 title race needed another twist to it. After a qualifying session that ended up with World Championship leader Sebastian Vettel stopped out on track, it took the FIA stewards a whopping FOUR-AND-A-HALF hours to strip him of his 3rd place grid spot and start him from the back of the grid, due to his car being found to have “insufficient fuel for sampling”.
Soon after, Red Bull made the decision to start the German from the pitlane instead of 24th and last, avoiding any possible Turn 1 incidents.
It’s not the first time this kind of penalty has been issued. In Spain earlier in the year, Lewis Hamilton stopped after securing pole position at Catalunya, only to be found to have less than a litre of fuel in his tank. Without enough to get a sample, he was disqualified and sent to the back of the grid, where he recovered to a very respectable 8th place
Now the same issue has befallen Vettel, at probably one of the most crucial times of the season. Without the penalty, he had managed to put cars between himself and rival Fernando Alonso by lining up 3rd to the Spaniards 7th. Now, Alonso sits in 6th place, EIGHTEEN spots in front.
The momentum has shifted from Red Bull to Ferrari, with no on-track action whatsoever. What else has 2012 got in store for us?