Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel has attempted to calm fans’ ire over stewarding in Formula 1 after a polemic end to the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Five lapped cars were allowed through past the Safety Car following Nicholas Latifi’s late crash in order to allow one lap of racing. This caused mayhem in the paddock, with Mercedes and several drivers questioning the validity of the restart.
As a result of this decision, Max Verstappen was directly behind Sir Lewis Hamilton – and having recently pitted for a set of fresh soft tyres, the Dutchman was able to ease his way past the seven-time World Champion.
The final round of the season was not the first time the stewards’ competence has been called into question this year.
But while Vettel appreciates that sport is very opinionated, he reckons that the job the stewards do is a lot harder than many would believe.
“Everyone has an opinion, I think leave the stewards alone, it’s tough enough as it is,” the four-time F1 World Champion said.
He added that while he understands that the stewards do make mistakes, he believes they are trying their hardest to create the fairest racing environment for everyone in Formula 1.
“Ideally, we’d like more consistency but there’s also a human side, so it’s probably difficult to get it 100 percent right, but it has to be our target, so we need to see what we can improve.”
However, despite the fiery reactions of Mercedes and fans alike, Vettel does not believe that 2021 has been any different to previous seasons.
But, Vettel did call for the fining system to be changed, saying: “I don’t think it has been any better or any worse than the past, with the exception of the fines for reprimands, in terms of cash, that’s just unnecessary; I think it looks stupid to ask for 10,000, 15,000, 25,000… I would like to see the receipt [for] what happens with the money.”
The 34-year-old ended the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix just outside the points in P11, giving him an overall finish of 12th in the Drivers’ Standings.
Vettel won the inagurual overtake award, with 132 passes throughout the 2021 Formula 1 season.