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F1 | Vasseur on Lando Norris' reprimand after the Russian GP: "The rule is crystal clear, if you cross the line, you have to be penalised."

Alfa Romeo team principal, Vasseur, underlined the inconsistency of the stewards after the decision they made not to penalise the McLaren driver for the incident he had in the pit entry.

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F1 | Vasseur on Lando Norris' reprimand after the Russian GP: "The rule is crystal clear, if you cross the line, you have to be penalised."
Fuente imagen: formula1.com

A final worthy of a thriller movie the one of the Russian Grand Prix, with the rain coming in the last 6 laps, making the asphalt increasingly slippery, with Lando Norris who paid the highest price: he was in command from lap 13, chased by Lewis Hamilton but, unlike the Mercedes driver, he decided not to enter the pits to put the intermediate tyres. And with 2 laps to go, the McLaren driver with his slicks on, spun and had to leave the 100th win to Hamilton.

Norris was one of the most talked about drivers of the Russian GP, ​​also because of the incident he had in the pit entry, which cost him only a reprimand. While returning to the pits, the rear of his car slipped, due to the fact that it had still slick tyres on, and slided across the line and back onto the track.

If the stewards had given him a 5-second penalty, as they did with Kimi Raikkonen at Mugello last year, his seventh place would have turned into a 9th position, behind the Alfa Romeo's Finn and Sergio Perez's Red Bull.

For this reason, the Team Principal of the Italian-Swiss team decided to comment on the issue:

"I'm very sad for Lando, because he did a fantastic weekend in Sochi," - Vasseur told Motorsport.com. - "But then it's not because you like the guy and he deserved to win that we have to change the rule. The rule is crystal clear, that if you cross the line, you have to be penalised.

"It was the case on tons of occasions, for 10 times less than this, with [Yuki] Tsunoda in Spielberg, with Raikkonen last year in Mugello. And exactly the same condition with Lewis in Hockenheim in 2019."

The Stewards have decided not to give any penalty to the McLaren youngster, justifying the matter like this: "We do not consider that the crossing of the painted area was intentional or predictable in the circumstances", but Vasseur disagrees.

"I will say that it's even worse in these conditions," - he said - "Because when Tsunoda put a wheel on the white line in Spielberg, it was not a safety issue, it was not a gain of time, because like when you are at the pit exit you go straight if you touch the white line, you are not faster. But he got penalised.

"And nobody complained about this that day, because the rule was clear, you put the wheel on the line, you are penalised.

"Last week, the advantage for Lando was mega. Because in this situation either you take five seconds or you do another lap in the wet on slicks, and you're losing perhaps 25 seconds.”

"And probably the five-second penalty is not enough. Because I perfectly remember that when Lewis took the penalty in Hockenheim, 99% of the paddock complained that it was too small.

"Now we are starting to find let's say, not reasons, but the explanation around the incident, and we are looking stupid. The rule is crystal clear. In that rule you never had a consideration about what is the advantage, is it the right circumstance?"

Frederic Vasseur's point of view is more than acceptable given that in F1 every point counts, in this case the two lost by Alfa Romeo and instead gained by McLaren in full battle with Ferrari for third place in the Constructors' Standings.

"The question for me is that if we open the door to this kind of discussion each time that someone will put a wheel on the white line we will try to find a good reason, and we will go to the stewards and explain and show the data, and it's an endless discussion,” he continued.

"I'm scared that the last couple of weekends we had far too many issues. I remember that in the quali in Monza a driver [Nikita Mazepin] blocked [Antonio] Giovinazzi, and he didn't get penalised because the team didn't inform him. It's a joke.

"Nobody considered this point before. We did exactly the same in Monaco three years ago, Giovinazzi got penalised, and I didn't complain because we f**ked up the lap of someone.

"It is tough to consider and to try to understand the reasons behind the mistake. It's a new discussion."

He also mentioned the Emilia Romagna GP, when Raikkonen received a 30-second penalty for not entering the pitlane after spinning before the rolling restart:

"I think that when they took the very tough decision against Kimi in Imola they didn't consider that the start of the story came from the race director also.

"The rule is clear that the race director is supposed to signal the rolling start after several laps, not when you are in the pitlane.

"We had far too many polemics over the last six or seven events. I think that we have to stick to the rules, and this is it. If you have a look, Spa was a disaster.

"In Sochi we had a driver [Fernando Alonso] over the kerb at Turn 2, and he didn't come back by the normal escape way. And when we asked the race director he said it's okay, they didn't get an advantage. But it's not the rule - if you are over the kerb, you have to go there," he added.

"If you have a look at the last five or six events, we had controversy. and it's not good for the sport, it's not good for my team, it's not good for my shareholders. But first, we look stupid," Vasseur concluded.

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