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Vettel facing COTA grid penalty

Vettel facing COTA grid penalty


Vettel facing COTA grid penalty

Vettel facing COTA grid penalty

Sebastian Vettel could face a grid penalty for the United States Grand Prix after he was summoned to the stewards following free practice one over a failure to slow sufficiently under red flag conditions. Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon have both been given a three-place grid drop for similar incidents in 2018.

There was little argument in the cases of Ricciardo and Ocon, as they were found to have not slowed sufficiently when red flags were waved in practice sessions in Melbourne and Suzuka this year.

As the penalty is triggered by drivers' telemetry, it is unlikely that Vettel will have a case to argue.

FP1 was briefly halted when Vettel's 2019 Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc ran wide between turns eight and nine at the Circuit of the Americas, spilling gravel onto the circuit.

Vettel was only fifth quickest in the session, almost two whole seconds adrift of Lewis Hamilton, who set the pace in a rain-affected outing.

The German must avoid being outscored by Hamilton by eight points in Austin, Texas if he is to keep his flickering title hopes alive.

However, Hamilton's early marker is a suggestion that the Mercedes star's four-race winning streak could be set to go on – which would leave Vettel requiring a second-place finish.

Vettel was displaced on the grid last time out in Japan after Ferrari's gamble on intermediate tyres fell flat – the German starting from P8.

He fought back to fourth early on at Suzuka, but saw any hopes of chasing Hamilton down go up in smoke when he spun after making contact with Max Verstappen in a bold overtaking manoeuvre at Spoon Curve.

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