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Luckless Vettel misses out again

SEBASTIAN VETTEL was left cursing the stewards after failing to win yet another race from pole, with salt rubbed into the wounds as Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber romped to victory in Hungary.

Only once from seven pole positions this year has Vettel taken the chequered flag and but for a safety car, a dodgy radio and those stewards, he would have improved that statistic at the Hungaroring.

When the safety car was deployed at the end of lap 15, Vettel had built up a cushion of over 10 seconds over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and seemed set to cruise to the line.

But a piece of the front wing from Vitantonio Liuzzi’s Force India was too dangerous for a marshall to retrieve from the middle of the track, bringing the safety car into play.

It caused mayhem, with Vettel forced into braking late and cutting across a kerb running alongside the pit lane in order to make his stop for tyres.

When the safety car came in two laps later – and at that stage he was behind Webber who had not pitted – he was caught napping as he was a considerable distance adrift of the Australian.

Vettel blamed his in-car radio for not working properly, so missing the call the safety car was coming in.

As for the stewards, they determined he had broken the rules as he was more than 10 car lengths behind Webber, leading to the 23-year-old receiving a drive-through penalty.

When Vettel served it soon after, he raised his fists in anger as he drove through the pit lane, and then after stepping out of the car he remonstrated with Herbie Blasch, the FIA’s race observer.

The young German was far from happy as he spoke afterwards as he said: "People told me what happened. I don’t like it, but I can’t change it now.

"At the restart I was sleeping. I was probably relying too much on the radio, but somewhere in the first stint I lost the radio and I didn’t hear anything.

"I don’t know how much time I lost, too much. It wasn’t acceptable and I paid the penalty.

"When I got the drive-through, I was pretty angry, and I then had to finish the race for 30 laps behind Fernando.

"As I said, I don’t understand what happened. This weekend we were not very lucky, and you could argue we did something wrong against the regulations.

"But look at the last race. There was something written in the regulations that wasn’t followed and nothing happened.

"This week, you can compare, but we had to pay a very expensive price."

Vettel’s remark referred to the team orders furore in the German Grand Prix and the fact no penalty was served during the race, only a $100,000 fine levied afterwards, although the World Motor Sport Council may yet have a further say.

The positive for Vettel, though, is that he is within 10 points of new leader Webber and six behind Lewis Hamilton, who retired on lap 24 with a rare mechanical failure to his McLaren, in this case the gearbox.

It all meant Webber was given "a bit of a gift," his description of his fourth win this season and sixth of his career.

Webber added: "It’s an incredible day for the team. Another win.

"Although one-two was our goal, we unfortunately didn’t get that but still got a big chunk of the points, so it was a good day."

During the safety car period the majority of the field dived into the pits, with the chaos sparked when Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg lost the right-rear tyre as he exited.

It then rolled and bounced through the pit crews, knocking unconscious Williams mechanic Nigel Hope, who has since made a full recovery other than a suspected fractured rib.

In the mayhem, Renault’s lollipop man released Robert Kubica too early, resulting in the Pole ploughing into Force India’s Adrian Sutil as he pulled into his pit entry box.

Kubica later served a 10-second stop-go penalty for an unsafe release from the pits, only to retire soon after, whilst Mercedes and Renault have since been fined $50,000 each.