Schumacher keeps podium after stewards inquiry

Mon, 25 June 2012, 09:35

Jun.25 (GMM) Michael Schumacher has kept hold of his first podium in over 2000 days, following a stewards’ inquiry in Valencia late on Sunday.

Red Bull had pressed the case that the Mercedes driver should have his trophy stripped away, after Mark Webber spotted Schumacher deploying his ‘DRS’ overtaking system amid waving yellow flags.

“For the same offense Vettel was penalised in Barcelona with a drive through penalty,” the team’s Dr Helmut Marko told Bild newspaper.

Schumacher answered: “I assume that there will be no penalty.

“It can be seen in the data that I slowed down for the yellow flags.”

Webber hit back: “I’m sorry, but a rule is a rule.”

The FIA stewards including former Sauber driver Mika Salo, however, ruled that Schumacher did indeed slow down for the yellow flags, despite his wing flap being open.

“This incident differs substantially from that in round 5”, the stewards’ report added, referring to Vettel in Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Williams’ Pastor Maldonado was handed a 20-second post-race time penalty for his late crash on Sunday with Lewis Hamilton.

Maldonado had slammed an overly “aggressive” Hamilton, but former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari pinned the blame on the Venezuelan.

“He was entirely outside the limits of the track and, honestly, there was no room to overtake at that point,” the Spaniard told Mundo Deportivo newspaper.

Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi will move five places down the grid at Silverstone next month for crashing into Felipe Massa on Sunday, while the stewards came down even harder on Jean-Eric Vergne.

The Frenchman was seen to jink to the right before crashing with Heikki Kovalainen, and so a rare double-penalty was imposed.

Not only will Vergne have to pay a EUR 25,000 fine, he faces a ten-position grid penalty for Silverstone after stewards took a dim view of the “serious nature of the incident”.

Asked about Toro Rosso’s struggles since dumping both of its established drivers at the end of last year, Alguersuari said only: “Thankfully it’s not my problem.”

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