Mike Stevens | Aug 2, 2010

Sebastian Vettel moved up a place in the drivers' world championship on Sunday, but he ended the race with a long face.

While serving a drive-through penalty, the young German gesticulated wildly from within the cockpit of his dominant Red Bull.

"I know you're upset, but take a deep breath," said his engineer on the radio as he returned to the pits with third place.

The penalty was for dropping too far behind the safety car at the restart.

"At the start I was sleeping," said Vettel. "I was caught out but I don't really understand why I got the penalty. I am obviously disappointed.

"It would have been a walk in the park today," the unhappy 23-year-old added.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said Vettel dropped too far behind the safety car "for whatever reason".

"It's very clear in the briefings and the driver meetings what to do. Unfortunately he dropped too far back," the Briton said on the BBC.

Vettel's teammate Mark Webber took the win, admitting Vettel's gaffe was "a bit of a gift but I haven't had many; I'll take this one," said the Australian, who contested his 150th grand prix in Hungary.

The delighted Webber takes a four-point lead in the drivers' world championship, after former leader Lewis Hamilton's McLaren broke down.

The result means just 20 points - less than a single race victory - now separates the top five title contenders, including Fernando Alonso, who held off Vettel for second place on Sunday, and Jenson Button.

The next race takes place at the end of August, including a mandatory two-week factory shutdown for all teams.

"I'm looking forward to the break -- very timely," Webber smiled.

(GMM)

 

Lauda Criticises Schumacher And Vettel After Hungary

Niki Lauda on Sunday slammed Michael Schumacher's pitwall swerve against his former Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello as "completely unacceptable".

The FIA stewards at the Hungaroring have docked the seven time world champion ten places on the Spa-Francorchamps grid after investigating the incident.

"It was a hard fight, and this is what we are here for, but I accept that the FIA stewards saw it as too hard," said the Mercedes driver.

And team boss Ross Brawn added: "We don't necessarily agree with their decision but we do accept the penalty."

Lauda said on RTL television: "To endanger another competitor in such a way is totally unnecessary.

"I cannot understand why he does those things," added Lauda, a former triple world champion.

The great Austrian also commented on Sebastian Vettel's drive-through penalty that cost him victory in Hungary.

Lauda believes the Red Bull driver should have immediately accepted the blame for falling too far behind the safety car, after initially gesticulating angrily from the cockpit and then explaining that he didn't know why he was penalised.

Vettel told reporters that he didn't see the safety car lights go out, and that his radio was intermittently not working during the race.

"It is important in such situations to say to yourself and everybody: I screwed up. End of story," said Lauda.

At the same time, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner denied it had been a ploy to give Mark Webber space so the Australian could race into the distance on a different strategy.

"Absolutely not," said Horner.

Asked whether it had been Ferrari, whose Fernando Alonso was right behind Vettel, that had complained to the stewards about Vettel, Horner explained: "I am sure they did.

"But the rules are clear and the drivers know it well. The penalty is hard, but that's the rules," added the Briton.

(GMM)

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