The Aston Martin driver was in 14th place when he entered the pits on lap 36 and came straight ahead of Hamilton, who had just passed Sergio Perez for third.
On his fresh hard tires, Vettel passed a series of blue flag warnings while staying several turns ahead of the battling pair. Perez was able to sign alongside Hamilton and try to regain the place before Vettel finally let them both through.
The FIA stewards were skeptical and gave Vettel a five-second penalty. He eventually finished 14th.
“Not even half a lap and I was out of the way,” he said when asked by TBEN about the violation. “So of course I can’t disappear. I have a different opinion, but it doesn’t matter.”
Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack defended his driver, noting that Vettel had a good pace on new tires.
“It’s always difficult when you come out of the pits with fresh tires, and you’re lapped by people with older tires,” said Krack.
“He wasn’t really slower at this point. But I think if you look at it, maybe we went a little too long ahead of Lewis and you can’t lap ahead. So these things happen sometimes.
“We knew we were going to end up in this situation, we had to stop him. He was informed but I think he didn’t mind too much because he clearly had the pace and he also told us I have the speed to drive away. But when you have the flag, you have the flag.”
Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22, Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22
Photo By: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
The German’s race had already been ruined by his first pit stop, which left him behind several rivals.
“We stopped very early to undercut most of the midfield, which I think was correct,” said Vettel.
“Then we had a really slow stop, we lost three or four seconds, I’m not sure. But then of course we lost position to Pierre [Gasly]Alex [Albon]Mick [Schumacher]Zhou [Guanyu]. And it was very close with Daniel [Ricciardo]. So not really ideal. And then it was real.”
Speaking about his fight with Schumacher, he said: “Obviously he fell back, starting in the points. I won and started more or less last. We met in the middle. to take.”
Lance Stroll gave Aston some encouragement by earning a point for 10th place, although the team hoped the Canadian would come for Esteban Ocon’s Alpine as well.
“We were never really concerned about getting out of the top 10,” Krack said. “But we were eighth at one point. And during that time we thought we could fight Alpine, at least one.
“But then the safety car came at a bad time because we thought they weren’t going to stop. And we stopped Lance. And we made huge strides to overtake Esteban. We were confident we had at least one could hold on to.” , or get one back.
“But then the safety car really came on at this point where we were actually catching up, it was more than one to one and a half seconds per lap for Ocon. But then the safety car again. So he actually had a free stop, and then we the positions frozen.”