Respected BBC journalist Martin Brundle has said that Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel should have received penalties for the infractions the three committed in the Chinese Grand Prix.
In Brundle’s opinion, Button slowed down in an unreasonable manner after the second Safety Car period, while Vettel and Hamilton were at fault for their battle in the pitlane as they emerged from their stops simultaneously.
“I would have recommended at least a flaky reprimand if not a drive-through penalty when Button unreasonably slowed the pack for a safety car restart. It was a clear breach of the rules unless he could demonstrate that the safety car had been unreasonably slow entering the pit lane,” wrote Brundle in his BBC column.
He went on to criticise Vettel and Hamilton.
“The driver behaviour down the pit lane was positively dangerous. Vettel shoved Hamilton towards the wheel guns and mechanics, albeit long after Hamilton should have yielded. They both received a reprimand, but what does that mean? How long does a reprimand last and how many are you allowed to collect before a real penalty?
“They are lucky I wasn’t the resident driver steward for the weekend because I would have strongly recommended dropping them both some penalty places on the grid for the next race in Barcelona. The decision taken has set a very dangerous precedent.
“I’m more relaxed about side-by-side action into the pit lane entry, where no person or equipment is in the road. It has been interpreted before that this is against the rules.”
Brundle added that the decisions taken by the stewards might not always be well-received.
“I wouldn’t have been a popular steward with my former McLaren team but that job is not a popularity contest. Ask any referee. “