British GP: Why was Kimi Raikkonen penalty 10 not five seconds?
Charlie Whiting suggests possible reasons why race stewards gave Raikkonen a harsher time penalty than Vettel in France
By James Galloway at Silverstone
Last Updated: 10/12/18 8:48am
The "widespread criticism" of Sebastian Vettel's penalty at the French GP may have played a role in British GP stewards imposing a harsher sanction on Kimi Raikkonen's own first-lap error, says the FIA's Charlie Whiting.
Two weeks after Vettel was given a five-second time penalty for a first-corner collision with Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas at Paul Ricard, Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen was slapped with a 10-second sanction after spinning Lewis Hamilton around as they battled at Turn Three.
Stewards at Silverstone ruled that Hamilton, who dropped to the back of the field after the contact, had 'clearly left significant room on the inside' for Raikkonen and that the Finn 'locked up his right front tyre, understeered and caused a collision'. Speaking after the race, Raikkonen admitted he "deserved" the penalty.
Whiting, the FIA's race director, is not involved in the stewards' deliberations over incidents and stressed he could only speculate about possible reasons for any perceived discrepancy between the two Ferrari penalties.
"I'm not the stewards, I can only think they have felt it was a little more serious than what Sebastian did in France," said Whiting.
"I can't really comment as I don't know the thought process that went on there, but I do know there was widespread criticism of the leniency of the penalty given in France. So maybe that affected them."
In France, Mercedes' management and Hamilton were among those to question why Vettel had only received the minimum penalty available to the stewards for causing a collision when Bottas sustained a puncture and dropped to the back of the field.
In a Sky Sports online poll conducted after the Paul Ricard event, more than 70 per cent of respondents said Vettel had deserved a harsher sanction.
Mercedes have expressed frustration with the Ferrari drivers' errors but, speaking on Sunday evening, Toto Wolff said he had no complaints with the way stewards were applying the rulebook.
"I think there is consistency on the penalties," said Mercedes' team principal. "They are what they are and there's a certain arsenal of penalties the stewards have available - a five-second penalty, a 10-second penalty or a drive-through and then they look at the precedents.
"What we need to discuss among all of us is if certain incidents occur and they have a massive outcome in terms of what's happening maybe around the race win and what the consequences would be, that's a different story.
"On the penalty itself, they are like the rulebook says. So it is what it is."