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BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX 2013: Nico Rosberg on pole as Lewis Hamilton starts ninth after penalty

Rosberg on pole for Bahrain Grand Prix as Hamilton starts ninth after grid penalty

PUBLISHED:

12:05 GMT, 20 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:17 GMT, 20 April 2013

Nico Rosberg will start from pole position for only the second time in his career at tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver will be joined on the front row by Sebastian Vettel with Fernando Alonso in third.

Hamilton, who was out-qualified by his team-mate Rosberg for the first time in his Mercedes career, starts in ninth after being handed a five-place grid drop.

Man in the middle: Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow's grand prix from the front of the pack ahead of Sebastian Vettel (right) and Fernando Alonso

Man in the middle: Nico Rosberg will start tomorrow's grand prix from the front of the pack ahead of Sebastian Vettel (right) and Fernando Alonso

Job done: Today's pole for Rosberg is only the second of his Formula One career

Job done: Today's pole for Rosberg is only the second of his Formula One career

The British driver will be joined on the
fifth row by former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button who failed to post a
competitive time in Q3 for the second successive race.

It is the first time since last year's race in China that Rosberg will lead away the field, and the first time this season he has out-qualified team-mate Hamilton.

Following Hamilton's pole in Shanghai, Rosberg handed Mercedes back-to-back poles for the first time since their return to the grid in 2010.

Hamilton cut a bitterly unhappy figure post race as he knows such an incident undoubtedly affects his early title hopes, with the Briton currently 12 points adrift of Red Bull's Vettel.

Asked for his thoughts on a potential rule change, Hamilton said: 'It doesn't really matter. The rules are the rules.

'I've got a penalty and I will have to suck it up and deal with it. I just got unlucky as I think it was some debris with the tyre.'

Red Bull's Mark Webber was fifth quickest, but like Hamilton, faces a penalty of three places after colliding with the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne last weekend.

Blow: Lewis Hamilton was handed a five-place grid penalty after he was forced to change his gearbox

Blow: Lewis Hamilton was handed a five-place grid penalty after he was forced to change his gearbox

Head down: Hamilton (right) was out-qualified by Rosberg for the first time in his Mercedes career

Head down: Hamilton (right) was out-qualified by Rosberg for the first time in his Mercedes career

BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
3. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)*
5. Mark Webber (Red Bull)**
6. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
7. Paul Di Resta (Force India)
8. Adrian Sutil (Force India)
9. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
10. Jenson Button (McLaren)

* Lewis Hamilton handed five-place grid penalty
** Mark Webber handed three-place grid penalty

It means Felipe Massa will move up to fourth in his Ferrari, with the Force India's of Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil lining up fifth and sixth.

Then comes Webber, who actually only loses two places courtesy of Hamilton, followed by Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus who moves from ninth to eighth.

In 11th and 12th, after dropping out in Q2 will be Romain Grosjean in his Lotus and McLaren's Sergio Perez, beaten by team-mates Raikkonen and Button respectively for the fourth straight race.

Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo, who a week ago in China qualified seventh, will start 13th tomorrow, with team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne 16th.

Sandwiched in between the pair are Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

Leading the way: Nico Rosberg sealed only the second pole position of his career on Saturday

Leading the way: Nico Rosberg sealed only the second pole position of his career on Saturday

In a remarkable twist at the end of
the opening 20-minute Q1 session, Pastor Maldonado dropped out after
setting the same time as Williams team-mate Bottas.

Posting
a lap of 1:34,125, as the Venezuelan's time came after that of the
Finn, it left Maldonado kicking his heels whilst Bottas took part in Q2.

Maldonado
will start 17th ahead of Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez, with the Mexican
out-qualified by Hulkenberg for the fourth consecutive race, and failing
to make it into Q2 for the third time.

Slow start: Jenson Button creeped into the top 10 but didn't complete a lap in Q3 and will start tenth

Slow start: Jenson Button creeped into the top 10 but didn't complete a lap in Q3 and will start tenth

With
a five-place grid penalty to serve for the race after running into the
back of Sutil in Shanghai, Gutierrez will start at the back of the grid.

Caterham
and Marussia naturally share the bottom four places, with Charles Pic a
season's best of 19th since switching from the latter to the former for
this season.

Either side
of Caterham's Giedo van der Garde are Marussia duo Jules Bianchi and Max
Chilton, with the 21-year-old Briton setting the slowest time in
qualifying for the first time this year.

On track: Fernando Alonso

On track: Fernando Alonso

Rosberg admitted to being 'a little surprised' at starting from pole, but natually claiming to be 'really, really happy' with 'a fantastic result'.

The question is whether Rosberg has the pace to go on and take the chequered flag given Hamilton dropped back to third from pole in China, and whether the tyres will hold up under the conditions.

'Tomorrow is going to be a tough day given the degradation of the tyres,' added Rosberg.

'I want to really kick start my season given the first three races which have been tough for me so far.

In the lead: Vettel holds a three-point advantage over Alonso ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix

In the lead: Vettel holds a three-point advantage over Alonso ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix

'It's difficult to say if we have enough to pace to win, but I will try, and I'm really looking forward to starting from first.'

Vettel was far from disappointed with second, especially after the time of Rosberg.

'Congratulations to Nico because it was a very strong lap,' said Vettel. 'When I crossed the line and I saw I was second I didn't know how much was missing from my lap.

'But then when I was told the gap to Nico it was clear, even with a perfect lap, he was unbeatable.'

Alonso declared himself 'very, very happy with third'.

It is the third successive race Alonso will start from third, adding: 'Normally we struggle a lot in qualifying, so this has put us in a strong position for the race.'

Meanwhile, Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn was irked by the Hamilton penalty.

Difficult weekend: McLaren driver Sergio Perez could manage only 12th in qualifying

Difficult weekend: McLaren driver Sergio Perez could manage only 12th in qualifying

He said: 'The difficulty we have in the future is where we get marginal cases where you have a problem, perhaps aggravated by the driver, and you don't get a gearbox failure as such, but it needs to be changed.

'Then you get into these long debates.

'But it is frustrating to get a penalty when there has been an outside influence. It's annoying.

'Fortunately it doesn't happen too often, but if it were to happen at a critical part of the season then it would be doubly frustrating, so it's worth looking at again.'

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery was certainly dismissing any prospect one of his company's tyres lay behind Hamilton's woes.

Hembery said: 'The problem seen on Lewis' Mercedes during free practice was not the result of a structural tyre failure, but instead must have been down to a piece of debris on the track.'

It was one of those bitter-sweet afternoons for Mercedes in light of Rosberg helping them to back-to-back poles for the first time since their return to F1 three years ago, and after Hamilton led away the field a week ago in China.

With two DNFs in his first three races, Rosberg has so far suffered in contrast to Hamilton, but was smiling again after claiming what is only his second pole in his 132 races.

'This is great for me because the start (to the season) has really not gone to plan, with a lot of issues,' said Rosberg.

'I'm really hoping this is going to kickstart my season. It's the first time everything has really gone to plan. Up until now it has been great.

'To turn up with the pole position, which I have to admit is a bit of a surprise, I'm really, really happy with.

Off colour: Hamilton will start on the fifth row with former McLaren team-mate Button for company

Off colour: Hamilton will start on the fifth row with former McLaren team-mate Button for company

'I'm now looking forward to tomorrow when hopefully everything will go well, although I'm not sure we have what it takes to win the race.'

That is based on the fact this year's Mercedes, whilst quick over one lap, lacks the race pace of rivals Ferrari, Red Bull, and Lotus on occasion.

The pits: Hamilton had to settle for starting fifth on the grid in the grand prix

The pits: Hamilton had to settle for starting fifth on the grid in the grand prix

Alonso declared himself 'very, very happy with third'.

It is the third successive race Alonso will start from third, adding: 'Normally we struggle a lot in qualifying, so this has put us in a strong position for the race.'

Fernando Alonso wins Chinese Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen finishes second and Lewis Hamilton third

Alonso wins Chinese GP: Flying Fernando claims Ferrari victory as Hamilton finishes third in Shanghai

PUBLISHED:

08:41 GMT, 14 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:41 GMT, 14 April 2013

Fernando Alonso stormed home to win the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday as British star Lewis Hamilton finished in third place.

The Spaniard started on the second row but soon passed pole-sitter Hamilton on his way to earning 25 World Championship points in Shanghai.

Mercedes' Hamilton fought bravely with Kimi Raikkonen for second place before eventually succumbing to the Lotus driver.

World champion Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, finished fourth but his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber was forced to retire midway through the race.

More to follow

On top: Fernando Alonso earned his first victory of the season as he came home to win the Chinese Grand Prix

On top: Fernando Alonso earned his first victory of the season as he came home to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Podium: Lewis Hamilton, who started on pole, was made to settle for third in his Mercedes

Podium: Lewis Hamilton, who started on pole, was made to settle for third in his Mercedes

All action: Hamilton led into the first corner but was soon reeled in and passed by both Ferraris

All action: Hamilton led into the first corner but was soon reeled in and passed by both Ferraris

Wayward wheel: Red Bull's Mark Webber was forced to retire after losing a rear tyre

Wayward wheel: Red Bull's Mark Webber was forced to retire after losing a rear tyre

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Kimi Raikkonen on Red Bull radar with Mark Webber"s future in balance after Sebastian Vettel row

Raikkonen on Red Bull radar as Webber's future hangs in balance after Vettel row

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

15:11 GMT, 2 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:14 GMT, 2 April 2013

Kimi Raikkonen is on Red Bull's shortlist to replace Mark Webber should the veteran Australian decide to retire at the end of the current Formula One campaign.

Webber could not hide his fury at losing out on victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix after team-mate Sebastian Vettel chose to ignore team orders to hold station in second place.

Vettel subsequently escaped sanction for his insubordination, a situation which appears to have backed up Webber's post-race claim that the triple world champion enjoys 'protection' at Red Bull.

In demand: Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen could race at Red Bull next season if Mark Webber leaves

In demand: Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen could race at Red Bull next season if Mark Webber leaves

In demand: Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen could race at Red Bull next season if Mark Webber leaves

And should Webber decide he has had enough of playing second fiddle, then Red Bull's billionaire owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, admitted Raikkonen would be a strong candidate to partner Vettel next season

'Kimi is cool and fast and always a candidate,' said Mateschitz of the 2007 world champion who drives for Lotus and enjoys a close relationship with Vettel.

Civil war: Mark Webber's relationship with Sebastian Vettel is in tatters following the fall-out from Sepang

Civil war: Mark Webber's relationship with Sebastian Vettel is in tatters following the fall-out from Sepang

The same certainly cannot be said for Webber, but discussing the 36-year-old's future, Mateschitz appeared to suggest he would have the final say on whether he continued to drive for Red Bull.

'Whether he retires, only he will choose,' Mateschitz told Speed Week. 'Mark is definitely a candidate for 2014.'

Bernie Ecclestone says Sebastian Vettel was right to overtake Mark Webber in Malaysian Grand Prix

Vettel was right to pass team-mate Webber, says Ecclestone after Malaysia controversy

By
Sunni Upal

PUBLISHED:

18:46 GMT, 27 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:40 GMT, 27 March 2013

Formula one chief Bernie Ecclestone has backed three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and said the German was right to ignore team orders and pass Mark Webber to win the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Webber led his Red Bull team-mate Vettel on Sunday before being told to turn his engine down, save his tyres and coast to victory in Sepang.

But world champion Vettel defied team orders and squeezed past Webber on the pit straight in the dying stages to win the race.

Tight: Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders and squeezed past Mark Webber to win in Malaysia

Tight: Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders and squeezed past Mark Webber to win in Malaysia

Authority: Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone

Authority: Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone

Vettel later admitted he was wrong to
pass Webber, but Ecclestone disagreed and claimed that the German did
not undermine team principal Christian Horner by ignoring the radio
messages.

He told Sky Sports News:
'If I was Sebastian Vettel, having won three world championships with
the team, and somebody came on the radio to me and started giving me
instructions I’d probably do exactly the same as Kimi Raikkonen did when
he came back when they gave him some instructions the other day and say
“I know what I’m doing”.

'I don’t think he’s (Vettel) undermined
Christian’s authority at all because Christian knows exactly what should
have happened and didn’t happen.

'Put yourself in Christian’s
position. What should he now do Did he give orders in the first place
and if he did how could he then give more orders

'I think what you have to do is think
very carefully and I always say “show me a good loser and I’ll show you
a loser”. Sebastian is not a loser. Sebastian is a winner.'

Stare: The tension between Webber and Vettel on the podium was clear for all to see

Stare: The tension between Webber and Vettel on the podium was clear for all to see

Ecclestone also laughed off any suggestions that Red Bull would suspend Vettel from racing in the next grand prix in China.

He said: 'Leave Sebastian out No I
don’t think I’d give that any consideration! I’d say to Sebastian,
“Sebastian – just don’t make me look an idiot”.'

The Formula One boss does, however,
believe Vettel and Webber can race as team-mates again after speculation
that the Aussie was considering his future with the team.

Ecclestone said: 'Yes, of course they will, obviously they will. I don’t know about (beyond 2013).'

Tension: Webber refused to celebrate with his team-mate on the podium

Tension: Webber refused to celebrate with his team-mate on the podium

New footage of Webber cutting up Vettel in dangerous move AFTER the race. Watson says ban Vettel

Fresh footage shows fuming Webber cutting up Red Bull team-mate Vettel in dangerous move after Malaysia mayhem

By
Phil Duncan

PUBLISHED:

13:23 GMT, 25 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:34 GMT, 25 March 2013

Dramatic new footage has emerged revealing just how serious the feud is between Red Bull team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber after the Australian pulled a shockingly dangerous maneouvre after the Malaysian Grand Prix had finished.

Red Bull are in turmoil today after Vettel ignored their clear instruction not to challenge Webber at the climax of the race, and the German was forced to issue an apology for undermining the order which has left his colleague considering his Formula One future.

VIDEO: Scroll down to watch the astonishing footage

Chequered flag: Sebastian Vettel slows down after crossing the finishing line in Malaysia

Chequered flag: Sebastian Vettel slows down after crossing the finishing line in Malaysia

Who's that coming up Mark Webber's car zooms into the corner of the camera

Who's that coming up Mark Webber's car zooms into the corner of the camera

Dangerous: Webber steers into the path of Vettel at a furious pace as the German slows down

Dangerous: Webber steers into the path of Vettel at a furious pace as the German slows down

Best of enemies: Webber then speeds off into the distance leaving Red Bull red-faced

Best of enemies: Webber then speeds off into the distance leaving Red Bull red-faced

New footage reveals just how angry
Webber was in the aftermath of the race as he dangerously cuts across
Vettel at high speed to display his fury, only missing his team-mates
car by a matter of inches.

Former McLaren driver John Watson, a
winner of five grands prix, believes Red Bull must take immediate action
against their three-time world champion.

‘The question is, what are the team
going to do to sanction Sebastian Vettel And the only solution I would
find is suspending him for next grand prix,’ Watson told BBC Radio 4.

Dangerous: Mark Webber (left) swerved in front of Sebastien Vettel to show his anger

Dangerous: Mark Webber (left) swerved in front of Sebastien Vettel to show his anger

Punishment: Sebastian Vettel deserves a one-race ban, claims John Watson

Leading the way: Webber was ahead of Vettel until his team-mate's late surge

Leading the way: Webber was ahead of Vettel until his team-mate's late surge

VIDEO: Watch Webber's dangerous move

Out of options: Watson says a fine would do nothing and removing the points is not viable

Out of options: Watson says a fine would do nothing and removing the points is not viable

‘You can’t take the points away from
him and give them to Mark Webber, a fine would be irrelevant, so the
only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say “you will stand out
one race”.’

‘I know that if other drivers in other teams disobeyed a team order they would be suspended or even fired.’

Red Bull cancelled their victory photo
in the aftermath of yesterday’s controversy while it has been reported
that Webber needed to be persuaded to participate in the podium
ceremony.

Usurped: Mark Webber would have won the race had Vettel not disobeyed team orders

Usurped: Mark Webber would have won the race had Vettel not disobeyed team orders

Watson says Red Bull team principal Christian Horner must take action or risk his position being undermined by Vettel.

‘If Christian Horner doesn’t reassert his authority in the team – because he has been totally subjugated by Sebastian Vettel yesterday – then his position in the team is not exactly the role it is designed to be,’ added Watson.

‘The only conclusion I can reach is that Vettel should be suspended for the next grand prix.’

Lewis Hamilton has played down former team-mate Jenson Button"s title chances

Forget Button, Alonso is the one I really have to beat: Hamilton sets his sights on driving back to the top with Mercedes

000005DC-773_634x344.jpg” width=”634″ height=”344″ alt=”The edge: Damon Hill believes Fernando Alonso will win the title ahead of Sebastian Vettel” class=”blkBorder” />

The edge: Damon Hill believes Fernando Alonso will win the title ahead of Sebastian Vettel

WHAT'S NEW THE TYRES

Pirelli have been instructed to supply tyres that will degrade faster. The subtle changes are designed to make them harder to manage by drivers, leading to more pit-stops and greater excitement. During winter testing the paddock was bewildered by the rate of tyre wear and this threatens to be significant in the early races. Speed may have to be sacrificed so tyres last longer.

To witness his victory in atrocious conditions in the final race of last season in Brazil — his 15th victory — was to see the baton being passed from Hamilton to Button inside the team.

‘It’s the right place for me to be for the long term,’ said Button, 33. ‘Some people have left because they feel there is another challenge or something missing from their position.

‘There is still so much to achieve here. When we had the launch of our 2013 car, it was amazing to see cars representing 50 years of McLaren brought out; to look at the team’s history and the championships won. We really are a spectacular team.

‘I want to add to that history; not just this year, but for the coming years.’ Button is at his most dangerous in Melbourne, having won three of the past four Australian Grands Prix, although where McLaren’s performance is in relation to Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus, or, for that matter, Mercedes is a mystery — 12 days of inconclusive winter testing offered fluctuating evidence of the pecking order we can expect Down Under.

‘It’s been an extremely hard-to-read winter,’ said Button. ‘Varying fuel loads and levels of tyre degradation mean it’s hard to predict accurately who will arrive in Australia with the best-sorted car. But I love the place.’

Danger: Vettel is chasing his fourth World Championship

Danger: Vettel is chasing his fourth World Championship

WHAT'S NEW THE CIRCUITS

Bernie Ecclestone had hoped for a new race in New Jersey this year to replace Valencia in June but that hit money problems. There is a vacant date, which the underwhelming circuit in Turkey had hoped to fill. And if Portugal and Austria don’t get it, Europe’s weakening status in Formula One will be confirmed with just seven races this season — the fewest since 1963.

Hamilton has not taken a backward glance since he took the gamble last autumn of tying his future to Mercedes in exchange for a three-year contract worth 60million, with the freedom for his management company, XIX Entertainment, to broaden his commercial portfolio.

‘It needs to be made clear that it was more lucrative [in salary] to stay with McLaren,’ insisted Hamilton.

His motivation in moving from McLaren, where he could expect to challenge for the championship this season, is governed by an ambition to replicate what Michael Schumacher achieved, year after year, with Ferrari and what Vettel is accomplishing with his dominance at Red Bull. At McLaren, the hall of fame is inhabited by the ghost of Ayrton Senna.

At 28, Hamilton is arriving at his peak years with 21 victories already in a career that has never lacked controversy on the track, or off it. Perhaps he has never driven better than last year. ‘You want to be the one,’ he told a small gathering at the BRDC Clubhouse at Silverstone.

No 4: Max Chilton becomes the fourth British driver in F1

No 4: Max Chilton becomes the fourth British driver in F1

WHAT'S NEW THE DRIVERS

Max Chilton joins Lewis Hamilton (now with Mercedes on a 60million deal), Jenson Button and Paul di Resta as the fourth British driver in the championship after being fast-tracked by Marussia.

Chilton, 21, benefits from having AON insurance vice-chairman Grahame Chilton as his father. He is worth 93m and owns the Carlin Motorsport team, where Chilton raced in GP2.

An F1 seat for this season reportedly costs 1.8m but Chilton denies he is a spoilt rich kid. ‘No team are going to let you behind the wheel if you’re not up to it,’ he says. Even so, Pastor Maldonado contributes 29m to the williams team budget through sponsorship from Venezuela’s state oil company, and Williams’ newest driver, 21-year-old Valtteri Bottas, from Finland, found the budget to secure the seat from Bruno Senna.

Chilton will be joined at Marussia by Frenchman Jules Bianchi after the team’s first choice, Luiz Riaza, failed to deliver promised funding.

Giedo van der Garde (Caterham) and Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) have also paid for their seats, Which means five of the 22 drivers next week will be making their Formula One debut.
Susie Wolff, wife of McLaren shareholder and Mercedes director Toto Wolff, is McLaren’s development driver, the second woman recently in F1 after Marussia’s Maria de Villota, who lost an eye in a test drive last year.

‘I was the one for a short period of time, as the youngest world champion, then I was toppled by Vettel. Fernando had his success. I expect myself to win.

'I expect myself to excel. Ultimately, I want to achieve greatness. I want to prove my abilities year after year. Michael is seen as an all-time great, Seb is, too. I want to be seen as great as well.’

In winter testing, Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have shown that Mercedes have made a startling improvement in performance after winning just one grand prix in the past three years.

‘I’m 100 per cent confident and happy with the decision that I made — and keeping myself out of trouble!’ said Hamilton.

‘The more time I spend at the factory the more excited I become. It’s just a beautiful place to be and I’m happier with the environment I’m in. I don’t have anything negative to say about McLaren — I was lucky to be given the opportunity by the team to get into Formula One.

‘Had I stayed I was guaranteed to be competitive.

'Yet I’m not looking to get one over McLaren. I know that I have gone to a team who have been unable to compete with the car I had last year — at some races, there was a deficit in qualifying of 1.9sec from Mercedes to McLaren — but we all have a hunger to change. I think Mercedes will impress this year.’

Hamilton will be driven to prove that he was correct to free himself from McLaren, where the management structure made him feel claustrophobic, to fulfil a search for ultimate greatness.

But with a nudge to his growing maturity, Hamilton said: ‘When I look at it sensibly, I realise I have quite a lot of time left.’

Sebastian Vettel set to retain title after FIA clear Red Bull driver of "illegal" overtake

Vettel set to retain world title as FIA say Red Bull star has 'no case' to answer over 'illegal' overtake

|

UPDATED:

12:01 GMT, 29 November 2012

Sebastian Vettel looks set to retain his world title after the sport's governing body cleared the Red Bull star of any wrong-doing.

Vettel's third consecutive championship was in doubt over an alleged illegal manoeuvre by the German in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix.

Scroll down to watch the video

Champion: Sebastian Vettel won the title in Brazil last weekend

Champion: Sebastian Vettel won the title in Brazil last weekend

Footage on YouTube appeared to show Vettel overtaking Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow flag conditions.

Overtaking
is outlawed under such conditions and a 20-second penalty could have been
handed out retrospectively, which would demote Vettel to eighth place
and see Ferrari's Fernando Alonso crowned world champion by a point.

But the FIA told Autosport that Vettel's move was legitimate and he had 'no case' to answer.

Yellow peril: Vettel's pass on Vergne has been brought into question

Yellow peril: Vettel's pass on Vergne has been brought into question

Alonso is said to be pushing Ferrari for an appeal. They have until Friday to do so.

Ferrari confirmed on Twitter that they requested 'clarification' from the FIA on Vettel's overtake.

Vettel finished sixth in the race
while Alonso came home in second meaning he was
beaten to the drivers' title by just three points by his Red Bull rival.

If Ferrari choose to lodge an appeal
with the sport’s world governing body (they have until Friday to do so)
Vettel could be demoted to eighth place if a time penalty is applied.

Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni said: 'We're looking at the video. We have until tomorrow to file an appeal.'

Speaking to German publication Auto Motor und Sport, race director Charlie Whiting dampened the likelihood of an appeal.

Hesaid: 'If the lights are not installed at a flag post the driver responds to the first signal that is shown.

'In Vettel's case, between the last yellow light and the green light there was a green flag being waved.

'The distance is 350 metres here. Vettel responded to the flag and did everything right.'

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Gutted: Fernando Alonso (left) missed out on the title to Vettel

Gutted: Fernando Alonso (left) missed out on the title to Vettel

Vettel could be demoted to eighth place if a time penalty is applied.

Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber however, believes Vettel should escape punishment.

'I think it’s unlikely (an appeal
will succeed),' Webber said. 'I think the race is won. It’s all over. I
think everything should be all right.'

Sebastian Vettel could lose title to Fernando Alonso after "illegal" overtake – video

Vettel could be stripped of world title as footage emerges of alleged illegal overtake

|

UPDATED:

08:03 GMT, 29 November 2012

Sebastian Vettel's world title could be in serious jeopardy over an illegal overtaking manoeuvre by the Red Bull driver during Sunday's chaotic season ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

Footage circulating on YouTube appears to show triple drivers' champion Vettel overtaking Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow flag conditions in the early laps of the rain affected race at Interlagos.

Scroll down to watch the video

Champion: Sebastian Vettel won the title in Brazil last weekend

Champion: Sebastian Vettel won the title in Brazil last weekend

Why Ferrari can't lodge appeal

Article 174 (d) of the International Sporting Code states:

Protests against any error or irregularity occurring during a competition, referring to the non-compliance of vehicles with the regulations and concerning the classification established at the end of the event shall, except in circumstances which the stewards of the meeting consider as physically impossible, be made within thirty minutes of the official publication of the results.

Overtaking is outlawed under such a
caution by race stewards and usually results in the guilty party being
handed a drive-through penalty during the race. However, in cases where
the infringement is not spotted prior to the chequered flag, the
customary punishment is 20 second penalty handed out retrospectively.

Vettel finished sixth in the race while Ferrari's Fernando Alonso came home in second meaning he was beaten to the drivers' title by just three points by his Red Bull rival.

Although Ferrari cannot lodge an appeal at this point, the FIA may choose to investigate the manouvere.

The motorsport's world governing body have until Friday to do so, then Vettel could be demoted to eighth place if a time penalty is applied.

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Such a dramatic outcome would see
Alonso crowned champion for a third time by a solitary point. Vettel
staged a remarkable recovery to take the crown in the spectacular season
finale after a first lap collision with Bruno Senna left him dead last.

Suspicions of illegality in passing moves on an HRT backmarker and Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber proved unfounded but it is the footage of Vettel's move on Vergne, who drives for Red Bull's sister team, which is being forensically examined by Ferrari's top brass who spent Wednesday afternoon locked in talks at their Maranello headquarters.

A Ferrari spokesman would only confirm that: 'Anything that threatens the credibility of the championship has to be examined.'

Speaking
after clinching the drivers' championship for third time in successive
years, Vettel spoke out about the 'dirty tricks' Red Bull's competitors
had used to derail his title charge.

Gutted: Fernando Alonso (left) missed out on the title to Vettel

Gutted: Fernando Alonso (left) missed out on the title to Vettel

The remark was taken by most observers to be in reference to Ferrari's decision to sabotage Felipe Massa's gearbox at the penultimate race in Austin in order to boost teammate Alonso's grid position.

In addition, Red Bull have had to alter their car on numerous occasions this season after complaints by rival teams regarding the legality of their 2012 challenger's design.

Meanwhile, Alonso tweeted after the race seemingly questioning the manner of Vettel's comeback in Brazil, posting: 'I have no miracles, I make the correct laws my miracles.'

McLaren worse without Lewis Hamilton – Christian Horner

Red Bull team principal Horner says McLaren will be worse without Hamilton

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UPDATED:

08:37 GMT, 28 November 2012

McLaren will be a poorer team next season without Lewis Hamilton, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

Hamilton, who joins Mercedes on a three-year deal in 2013, saw his lengthy association with the British team end in failure after he was forced to retire from the lead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton will be replaced by Sergio Perez, who failed to score a single point in the six races since his move to McLaren was announced in September.

Impact: Christian Horner thinks McLaren will miss Lewis Hamilton

Impact: Christian Horner thinks McLaren will miss Lewis Hamilton

Switch: Hamilton (right) is leaving for Mercedes in 2013

Switch: Hamilton (right) is leaving for Mercedes in 2013

‘McLaren is a weaker team without Lewis,’ said Horner. ‘They would admit that.’

‘Lewis is an outstanding driver and in Lewis and Jenson Button they had a hugely strong driver line-up.’

Hamilton joins a Mercedes team who ended the season desperately off the pace.

But Horner, who last night joined over 500 of his Red Bull colleagues in celebrating Sebastian Vettel’s world championship triumph, still believes Hamilton will be a contender for the title next term.

‘Whichever team had taken Lewis, he will be an asset,’ Horner added.

‘Lewis will naturally bring performance to Mercedes. Fernando Alonso, Lewis and indeed Jenson are very strong threats for next year.’

Vettel completed a hat-trick of titles last Sunday after finishing sixth at the season-ending race in Brazil.

Chat: Mark Webber, Horner, Sebastian Vettel, David Coulthard and Adrian Newey speak to the Red Bull team

Chat: Mark Webber, Horner, Sebastian Vettel, David Coulthard and Adrian Newey speak to the Red Bull team

The 25-year-old German fought his way from the back of the pack after a collision with the Williams of Bruno Senna on the opening lap to beat Alonso to the title by just three points.

Phil Duncan F1 blog

After strong comeback drives in Abu Dhabi, where he finished third after starting from the pit-lane, and in Interlagos, Vettel has done his best to dampen accusations that his strongest performances only come from the front of the pack.

‘It’s actually a little bit of comedy to look back now and you were the driver who can’t overtake,’ said Vettel. ‘Now after just two races people have changed their mind.

‘To win from the front or to come through the field it is the same thing. You still do your best.

‘People credit the fact that you have overtaken drivers more than pulling away from the front and building a lead.

‘Maybe they don’t understand how much it is worth to pull out a gap’

Vettel was gifted sixth place in Sunday’s rain-hit race after Michael Schumacher allowed his fellow countryman to pass with relative ease.

Triple champ: Vettel (left) secured his third consecutive F1 drivers title at the weekend

Triple champ: Vettel (left) secured his third consecutive F1 drivers title at the weekend

It was Schumacher’s final grand prix before retiring from the sport for a second time, and Horner believes the manoeuvre was very significant.

‘Michael is renowned for being a tough racer but it was his gesture to Sebastian,’ added Horner.

‘It was almost like passing the baton on. It wouldn’t have been well received at his former team but Michael obviously felt it was something he wanted to do and it was very generous.’

On Schumacher, Vettel, who could challenge his fellow countryman’s incredible record of seven world titles, added: ‘He is extremely happy for me.

‘It is a great gift and great part of your character if you can be truly happy for somebody else because I think there is a lot of guys who pretend to be happy buy they’re not.

‘In that regard it is impressive after what he has achieved.’

Sebastian Vettel vows to stay at Red Bull until 2014

Triple-world champion Vettel vows to stay at Red Bull until at least end of 2014 season

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UPDATED:

15:47 GMT, 26 November 2012

Sebastian Vettel can see no end in sight to the fairytale he is currently enjoying with Red Bull.

After becoming the youngest driver in Formula One history to clinch not just three titles, but to do so in succession, Vettel has reassured his team he has no intention of jumping ship.

The 25-year-old German has a contract with the Milton Keynes-based marque through to the end of 2014, which he has again insisted he will honour.

Game on: Vettel celebrates his third world title with Red Bull

Game on: Vettel celebrates his third world title with Red Bull

That was a reference to the fact that Vettel was linked with Ferrari for 2014 at various stages throughout the campaign, a situation that could be viewed as an attempt at destabilisation.

After finishing sixth in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix to win the title by three points as Fernando Alonso could only finish second behind Jenson Button, Vettel mentioned 'a lot of people tried to play dirty tricks', but refused to expand. The question now is with three championships to his name, what could motivate him to remain with Red Bull

'The next challenge First of all I want to enjoy now,' Vettel said. 'I've tried to explain the whole time the most important thing is to be in the present. I don't want to get carried away with next year.

Centre of attention: The Red Bull driver is the youngest triple world champion in F1 history

Centre of attention: The Red Bull driver is the youngest triple world champion in F1 history

'I'm very happy now and I want to have a good time with the guys, and then surely at some stage you try to recharge the batteries.

'It's been a tough, long season and I want to come back in shape next year. 'But I'm with the team. I have a contract until the end of 2014 and I'm very happy with what we have achieved so far, and I don't think this story is over yet.

'So I'm very happy and extremely committed to give everything I have in the next (two) years when I'm with them.

Facing the wrong way: Vettel finished sixth after spinning on the opening lap in Brazil

Facing the wrong way: Vettel finished sixth after spinning on the opening lap in Brazil

'At the moment I don't see any point thinking about another team or something else. I'm extremely happy in the position I am in because it's incredible what we have achieved.'

Vettel also refused to suggest he could one day eclipse Michael Schumacher's records of seven titles, 91 race wins and 68 poles.

Although firmly on his way with three championships, 26 victories and 36 poles, Vettel said: 'I'm not commenting on that because it's nonsense.

'Whatever he has achieved in his career is unbelievable. People tend to forget he was dominant like no other driver ever in Formula One during his time.'

Meanwhile Alonso has called on Ferrari to get their heads down over the winter and find him the speed he needs to end his agonising wait for his own third Formula One world title.

'For the future we need to improve the car,' said Alonso. 'We have the best team in terms of approaching and preparing for the races, we've had zero mechanical problems this season, and we've had good pitstops, good starts, good strategy, but we were too slow.

'We were behind the Red Bulls, the McLarens, and in the last couple of grands prix, behind Williams and Force India. We were clearly slower than them in pace.

'So this is something we must improve next year because we cannot fight for a world championship if we are too slow. We can be a little slower, but not that much.'