As soon as I type the post, the result comes in; Jarno Trulli has been penalised for overtaking a fellow driver while under safety car control. The incident happened in the final phase of the Australian Grand Prix and results from Trulli slipping off the track and onto the grass. Lewis Hamilton, who was following Trulli had no choice but to pass the Toyota, but Trulli, once recovered, re-passed Hamilton. It was the re-passing of the McLaren that has been deemed incorrect. Trulli has received a 25 second penalty.
This added time puts Trulli outside of the points and promotes Lewis Hamilton to third, Timo Glock to fourth, Fernando Alonso to fifth, Nico Rosberg to sixth, Sebastien Buemi to seventh and team mate Sebastien Bourdais to eighth.
Jarno Trulli is now, by my reckoning, in twelfth place, although the Toyota team have said they will appeal the stewards decision. Unfortunately for the Cologne-based team, this does look on the face of it to be clear cut. It is hard to see how the decision can be appealed unless Toyota really do believe Trulli had the right to re-pass Hamilton.
Also receiving a penalty following the race is Sebastian Vettel. After his incident with Robert Kubica, Vettel’s Red Bull car sustained a fair amount of damage; the front-left wheel was hanging off. However, Vettel continued under the control of the safety at the mandatory reduced pace, which meant his car was just about holding together. Cruising around with three wheels though isn’t the wisest of decisions and the rules state that if the car has received damage, it should be either pulled off to the side of the track or brought back to the pitlane.
Vettel finally admitted defeat and retired his car, but only after completing a couple of laps. For his error, Vettel has been fined $50,000, and more painfully, the Red Bull driver will be demoted ten grid slots and next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.