190610 Vettel Hamilton
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton consoles Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel. Image Credit: AP

Le Castellet: Ferrari’s request to review the time penalty given against Sebastian Vettel at the Canadian Grand Prix has been turned down.

Vettel looked on course to win the race in Montreal two weeks ago, but he finished second after incurring a five-second time penalty for an incident with Lewis Hamilton some 20 laps from the end.

With Hamilton pressuring behind him, Vettel went off into the grass heading into a turn and then swerved back onto the track, forcing Hamilton to brake his Mercedes suddenly.

Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies attended a hearing on Friday at the French GP, along with three of the four Canadian GP race-day stewards, with another steward appearing by video conference.

Although Ferrari wer confident it had new elements to strengthen its case for a review, and an eventual overturning of the decision, governing body FIA decided otherwise.

“There are no significant and relevant new elements which were unavailable to the parties at the time,” the FIA said in a statement.

Ferrari presented analysis of telemetry data of Vettel’s car, a video analysis of different camera views, GPS racing line data, and Vettel’s witness statement. But FIA said the same elements had already been available at the time, and thus offered nothing new.

A video analysis by a driver representing broadcaster Sky Sports was deemed a new element but “not significant and relevant”, as was a video of Vettel’s face camera during the incident which contained footage already visible on “other available video” footage.

On the track, Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas set the pace in free practice for the French GP. Ferrari were once again the best of the rest.

Hamilton, who arrived late on Thursday after attending a memorial for fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld in Paris, lapped Le Castellet’s Paul Ricard circuit in one minute 32.738 seconds in the first session, with Bottas second. The Finn turned the tables on the five times champion in the afternoon, laying down a lap of 1:30.937 to push Hamilton into second place, 0.424 slower.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third fastest in both sessions, with Vettel fifth and fourth respectively on a sunny day in the south of France.

Verstappen was fourth in the morning, his car benefiting from an engine upgrade, but slipped to sixth later.

Mercedes are favourites to chalk up their 10th win in a row this weekend, and eighth of the season, at a track where Hamilton won from pole last year.