Roger Diez: Canadian Grand Prix: ‘Right decision, wrong solution’ | NevadaAppeal.com

Roger Diez: Canadian Grand Prix: ‘Right decision, wrong solution’

Roger Diez

Lewis Hamilton drove his Mercedes to the win at last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, but I was having flashbacks to the Kentucky Derby. In both races, it wasn’t the competitor who crossed the finish line first who was declared the winner. The difference was the Derby decision was made after the race was over, while the Grand Prix outcome was known long before the checkered flag waved.

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Formula One, like most forms of professional racing, is highly, some might say insanely, competitive. Locked in a tight duel and under pressure, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel made a mistake. In trying to rectify the error and retain his lead, he committed an offense against the rules. So said the stewards, who assessed the mildest penalty they could under the rulebook, adding five seconds to his elapsed time for the race. It could have been twice that number, or a disastrous stop and go penalty. From that point on, all Hamilton had to do was stay within five seconds of Vettel and the race was his. And that course of action was preferable to attempting to pass an angry Vettel and getting wrecked in the process.

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If the positions had been reversed and it was Hamilton who slipped off course while in the lead, I’m confident he would have done the same thing Vettel did. So would any racing driver worth the name. But the fact remains it was a violation of the rule against unsafe re-entry and the stewards had no choice. Whether that particular rule was written correctly or needs clarification is an entirely different question and is way above my pay grade. A former Ferrari team leader probably summed it up best, saying “By application of the rules as they are written, it was the right decision — but it was the wrong solution.”

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I can’t say I was happy with Vettel’s whining on the radio or with his post-race actions and demeanor, but I understand his frustration. So did Hamilton, who said it was certainly not the way he wanted to win. And he understood, having had a race taken away in Belgium in 2008.

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There was other racing last weekend as well. Saturday night the IndyCar series was on the Texas Motor Speedway 1.5-mile oval. Penske driver Josef Newgarden beat Andretti Autosport pilot Alexander Rossi to the checker, extending his points lead over Rossi to 25. Rookie Colton Herta, driving aggressively, made an overoptimistic pass attempt on five-time series champion Scott Dixon, taking them both out.

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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series Michigan race was rained out Sunday, and Martin Truex Jr, didn’t score another Monday win. Truex ended up third in overtime behind winner Joey Logano and runner-up Kurt Busch. It was a good weekend for owner Roger Penske, with wins in two different series. It was Joey’s second win of the season and put him ahead of Kyle Busch by 9 points for the series lead. It also further consolidates the Gibbs/Penske stranglehold on the 2019 season. The two teams have won 14 of the 15 points races run so far. This weekend the Cup series has a bye, but both the Gander Outdoor Truck series and the Xfinity series are at the fast 7/8-mile Iowa Speedway. The trucks race this evening and Xfinity tomorrow.

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Finally, Fernley 95A Speedway is hosting the Nevada Pro Stock Association racers, with $1,500 to win. Also on the program is the 4th annual Buehn Motorsport Hobby Stock Classic with $1,000 to win. The IMCA A Modifieds are also racing for $1,000 to win. Sport Mods and Gen-X classes will also race. Tickets are available online at http://www.fernley95aspeedway.com.