Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ricciardo defend Sebastian Vettel after FIA clash

Sebastian Vettel was given a suspended 25,000 euro fine after leaving the drivers' briefing early in Austria.

Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ricciardo have sympathised with Sebastian Vettel leaving the FIA drivers’ briefing without being excused in Austria.

Every Friday on a race weekend, the drivers are required to attend a meeting with the race director to discuss any sporting, technical and safety issues that have arisen during practice or, in the case of the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend, qualifying.

There had already been a degree of annoyance at the lack of consistency from the stewards before they arrived in Spielberg, and track limits were a key theme of qualifying when many drivers had their lap times deleted.

The inconsistency of the stewarding this year was brought up by Fernando Alonso after Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc escape punishment in Silverstone for indiscretions he had already been penalised for in previous races.

READ: Revealed: Why did Sebastian Vettel walk away after ‘big argument’ with rival drivers

George Russell indicated after the briefing that the FIA might be advised to “stick to one race director” after the arrival of Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich this year, which appears to have further convoluted the situation in race control.

It also seems that the hierarchy has lost control of the drivers, because Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz reported on Sunday that there had been some arguments among the racers about driving standards so far in 2022.

This was taking place instead of the planned meeting, so Vettel decided he had heard enough, and walked out to attend to his other commitments.

Schumacher agreed that the conversation was not really going anywhere, and suggested that his German compatriot was not the only one who wanted to leave.

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“I just felt like we were going in circles with some of the things that were discussed,” he said, quoted by Autosport.

“It kind of was getting longer than necessary, [so] I fully understand the direction from Seb, and I think there were a lot more drivers who kind of felt the need to leave the briefing as well.”

READ: Helmut Marko reveals why Daniel Ricciardo couldn’t challenge Max Verstappen at Red Bull

Ricciardo explained that the drivers often have other things they need to crack on with after a busy day of running, so an aimless, drawn-out conversation in the drivers’ briefing is not conducive to maintaining their tight schedule.

“I don’t want to speak for Seb, but sometimes we’ve got engineering to do,” added the Australian.

“So I think sometimes if you’re going back and forth, and there’s always conversations, if it goes on long and without a definitive answer, then for sure some are like, ‘I gotta go.’

“Obviously Seb was a little frustrated with the back and forth, he obviously felt quite strongly about it.”

Charles Leclerc went on to win the race ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, as Sir Lewis Hamilton earned his fourth podium if the year in P3.

Vettel ended up P17 after contact with Alex Albon in the sprint and then Pierre Gasly in the race set him back, while Schumacher and Ricciardo finished a respectable sixth and ninth, respectively.