Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz has revealed that Sebastian Vettel grew impatient at the aimless discussions taking place during the drivers’ briefing in Spielberg, so he walked out.
The drivers had a lot to get off their chests on Friday evening after multiple laps had been deleted in qualifying for the sprint race, including Sergio Perez, who was knocked from P4 to P14 after the stewards had initially missed his Q2 infringement.
It then transpired that an investigation had been opened up on Vettel, who abruptly left the mandatory drivers’ briefing, so he was fined 25,000 euros, suspended until the end of the year.
The initial consensus was that he was annoyed at the track limits stringency after he too had his final Q1 lap deleted, putting him at the back of the grid for Saturday’s race.
Instead, Kravitz reported that the conversation was not going anywhere between the drivers, and the German saw no point in staying if they were not going to move on to more pressing matters.
“They kept going round apparently there was a big argument between all the drivers,” he said on his Notebook show.
“And it went on for 20 minutes, and Sebastian was sitting there thinking, ‘look, we’re going round and round in circles, we haven’t got onto the proper drivers’ briefing yet.
“’If you’re not going to talk about it, then I’m just going to walk out.’
“So he did, but then he got a 25,000 euro fine, suspended.”
The 34-year-old has been criticised in recent years for using his position in F1 to push for equality, social justice and environmental awareness.
He responded to that by affirming that he is not telling anyone how to live their life; he is simply leading by example.
“I’m not a saint, I can’t tell anyone how to behave,” Vettel told Sport1 during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend.
“But I try to set a good example and use the Formula 1 platform to inspire people, for example I drove to Spielberg instead of flying.”
Further, this is not a PR tactic from the four-time world champion, who is keen to make the world a better place.
“I don’t do it for its own sake, but for the greater good,” added Vettel.
“And maybe when it comes to sustainability, I’m also driven by the typical question asked by Formula 1 drivers – ‘Why aren’t we fast enough?’”
Vettel finished the Austrian Grand Prix 17th after contact with Alex Albon in the sprint and then Pierre Gasly in the main race set him back significantly.