F1: Vettel hit with grid penalty, Hamilton tops US practice

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F1 news - Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in wet US first practice

The latest incident occurred in the opening 90-minute practice session after Vettel's future teammate Charles Leclerc, who is moving to Ferrari in 2019, dragged gravel onto the circuit with his Sauber auto.

Lewis Hamilton was given a helping hand in his pursuit of a fifth world title at the United States Grand Prix on Friday when flagging rival Sebastian Vettel was hit with a three-place grid penalty for Sunday's race.

Sebastian Vettel complained that Formula One's red flag rules are wrong and need more common sense applied after he was handed a three-place grid penalty on Friday.

When a red flag is shown, all drivers are required to drive to a reduced pace and return to the pits.

F1's sporting regulations were tweaked this season to force drivers to stay above a minimum time at least once in each marshalling sector (regular intervals on the track denoted by FIA light panels).

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Taking their time to make a decision, especially when factoring in the extreme wet conditions in which the first practice session had taken place, the stewards eventually decided that they had no choice but to issue the same punishment to championship chasing Vettel as they had previously to Ricciardo and Ocon.

"I don't know if the 50s was a particularly good time, it wasn't a great time for black people either, so I probably wouldn't have been racing back then", said Hamilton.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean said drivers have "a couple of milliseconds to slow down" when they are informed of a red flag.

When asked whether there should be more common sense, he replied: "I think there should be common sense with the rules that we have".

"I think I saw the red flag, I slowed down, had a look around [to see] where was the vehicle potentially stuck in the wall - if there was one around Turn 9 and 10 - and then slowed down significantly to comply with the rules", said the German. "Lining out 27.7 seconds precisely, as not complying with the rules, I think is wrong".

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"As I say, personally I think it's a rubbish regulation".

"I think the respect between us has always been there despite the fact that maybe we are very different".

Gasly said: "It's quite a harsh penalty, if you've been really careful when you pass in front of the crash and just after you don't pay attention so much and you get a penalty like this".

His penalty followed two similar examples.

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