Sebastian Vettel faces a potential one-race ban after his latest blunder on another miserable afternoon for the quadruple world champion.
Vettel spun at the Ascari chicane on lap six, and in his desperate attempt to rejoin the track in haste, collided with Lance Stroll.
Vettel smashed into the right-rear tyre of Stroll’s Racing Point, sending the Canadian into a spin.
“He just came back on the circuit like an idiot,” said Stroll over the team radio.
Vettel limped back to the pits with a broken front wing, and was then hit with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for dangerous driving. The punishment is one of the most severe available to the stewards.
The German was also dealt three penalty points for the collision, taking his tally to nine for the calendar year. He had previously fallen foul of the stewards after crashing into Red Bull driver Max Verstappen at Silverstone, and rejoining the track in a dangerous fashion at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Vettel will be banned for a race if he accrues three further points at the ensuing rounds in Singapore, Russia and Japan.
“I still love what I do but when you are not doing well, and you know you can do well, you can’t be happy,” said Vettel, 32.
“I lost the rear of the car and it was as simple as that.”
The penalty points capped an afternoon to forget for Vettel, who is swiftly becoming yesterday’s man at Ferrari following the emergence of Leclerc and his second win in as many grands prix.
Vettel has not stood on the top step of the podium for more than a year, and crossed the line in 13th place here. To add insult to injury, he was lapped by Leclerc with a third of the race remaining.
Vettel is paid handsomely by Ferrari, understood to be in the region of £36million a season. His contract expires at the end of the next year, but there is a feeling he might choose to walk away from the Scuderia before then, particularly if he further surrenders his number one status to his new team-mate.
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