Sebastian Vettel’s joy of securing his second podium finish of the 2021 Formula 1 season was short-lived on Sunday, with the German finding himself disqualified from second place in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team driver followed Esteban Ocon home at the Hungaroring but stopped on track on the way back to the pit lane. When the car was brought back to the paddock, the FIA were unable to extract the necessary one litre of fuel from the AMR21, and as a result were forced to disqualify the German from the results.
Aston Martin believed there was enough fuel in the car and were allowed an attempt to extract it from the car under supervision, but they were unable to get more than the 0.3 litres the FIA had achieved, and as such, Vettel was disqualified.
“The team was given several opportunities to attempt to remove the required amount of fuel from the tank, however it was only possible to pump 0.3 litres out,” said the FIA statement.
“During the hearing in presence of the FIA Technical Delegate and the FIA Technical Director, the team principal of Aston Martin stated that there must be 1,44 litres left in the tank, but they are not able to get it out. This figure is calculated using the FFM or injector model.
“Given this situation, car No. 5 is not in compliance with the requirements of Art. 6.6 FIA Technical Regulations. According to Art. 6.6.2 competitors must ensure that a 1.0 litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time. The procedure was followed however the 1.0 litre sample of fuel was unable to be taken.”
Vettel had admitted before his disqualification that he had been disappointed not to take the race victory, feeling he had better pace than Ocon up front.
The four-time World Champion had avoided the chaos at turn one on lap one to jump up to third, but he was unable to find a way ahead of the Alpine F1 Team driver and was forced to settle for second place at the chequered flag.
“Second place is a great result and we can be proud of our performance, but when you are that close to victory, you always want more,” said Vettel. “At the start of the race, I could see the contact ahead of me, so I took the inside line and found myself with the leading cars.
“From then on, I felt like I tried to take the lead for the entire 70 laps, but it is so difficult to overtake here. I think we were quicker for most of the race, but there was not enough of a difference to make an overtake because it was very hard to follow in the dirty air.
“I tried to pressure Esteban [Ocon] into a mistake, but he did not make a single one. Congratulations to Esteban, it is his day and I am very happy for him. He deserved the victory. I will sleep well tonight knowing I gave it my all.”
Vettel says Aston Martin are going to have their hands full in the battle for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship in 2021, particularly with Alpine and Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda both scoring well at the Hungaroring.
“We have a good fight on our hands in the midfield with Alpine and AlphaTauri, so we will take the summer break to rest up and come back ready to fight in Belgium,” he said.