Lights to flag…

It has been four days since Sebastian Vettel crossed the line in 6th place to win the F1 world championship (ironically, the last three title deciders in Brazil have seen the champion finish in 5th or 6th). But now there are reports that the battle may not be over.

Twitter is abuzz with people claiming that Ferrari are looking to protest over an overtaking move made by Vettel on Lap 4, passing Jean-Eric Vergne, under yellows. Videos have emerged from onboard feeds, of the Red Bull passing the Toro Rosso on the back straight, after Pastor Maldonado crashed out.

I’ve seen the video, and the slow-motion replay. After the yellow light flashing on the right of the circuit is a marshal point. Here, a green flag is waved, prior to the move that Vettel made.

A flag supersedes a light – so if a yellow light is flashing, but a green flag waves shortly afterward,and before the green light, then it is the green that takes precedent. In this case, the green flag means Vettel was clear to overtake Vergne, and did so. It must also be asked whether DRS was still enabled, as I believe it is disabled if there is a yellow flag in the zone.

Ferrari cannot appeal anyway, as explained by F1 Fanatic here – I’m got going to rehash what they say, when I can just link to an excellent F1 site – but as the post also explains, the FIA are obliged to investigate any incident if new evidence comes to light.

There is also the question of whether a 20 second penalty could easily be applied, bearing in mind the timing of the incident on lap 4, and the action in the race. Any penalty Vettel received during the race would have been wiped out by the safety car. However, a 20 second penalty is the mandate – there is no room for flexibility, as we’ve seen in the past.

So to summarize, There was a green flag, Vettel passed after it. Therefore, Vettel is world champion. Roll on 2013!

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