Sebastian Vettel got away with his last red-nosed moment, but the controversy over his behavior at the weighbridge in the Brazilian Grand Prix enlivened the memories of other incidents in which his temper had cost him dearly.
On Saturday, the trigger was that the Ferrari driver was prompted by the random selection process of the FIA to weigh his car when he came into the pits at the start of the second qualifying session.
The problem for Vettel was that there was rain in the air and Ferrari had just taken a big strategy game to decide on a different type of tire, and if his car had been weighed that would have suffered very badly.
It takes time to weigh a car, and with threatening clouds over Interlagos it was possible that it would have rained before Vettel set a lap time.
Vettel was overcome by his impatience and frustration.
As the steward reports, "The driver did not turn off the engine when he was directed by the officer onto the scale, he knocked over the cone so the driver would not ride on the scale, which he did.
"At the time, an officer standing in front of the car showed him an indication of his" brakes, "and although he did not beat the officer, he forced him while he weighed down the engine.
"Once the weight was taken, he did not wait for the officers to push the car off the scales, and while the stewards accepted that he had misunderstood the officer's details, he fired the car again and drove the vehicle off balance which is not the case, because it can damage the scale, which it did in this case.
"While no one was injured by dropping the scales behind the car and the stewards assume that the driver has not driven the scales recklessly, the procedure is set out precisely to avoid damage to the scale, possibly dangerous situation that was exactly caused "
In the end, the stewards decided to issue only a reprimand and a fine of 25,000 euros – not a big problem for a man who earns something on the order of 30 million euros.
Unlike the FIA's initial communication, Vettel turned off the engine when he was on the scale, and they were able to weigh the car correctly.
This is probably the reason why Vettel received no further punishment. If a driver ignores the requirement to weigh his vehicle, the usual penalty is sent to the back of the starting field. Ensuring that the right weight of a racing car is one of the foundations of motorsport, since the weight has a significant impact on the weight lap time.
It was not difficult to understand why Vettel was annoyed, but at the same time rules are rules. It is not up to the competitors to decide if they suit them. Fernando Alonso put it this way: "It's not ideal because the weather can affect things, maybe the rule is not the best, but that's the way it is."
It was the latest example of situations in which Vettel overwhelmed his feelings or misjudged the heat of the battle.
He has screamed and sworn this team over the radio at least twice this year in high-pressure moments. There was the notorious incident in Baku in 2017 when he purposely drove to Lewis Hamilton because he mistakenly thought the Mercedes driver had "braked" him.
And then there are a number of mistakes he made in the heat of the season this season that may have had a decisive influence on the championship.
Vettel seemed a little frayed and exhausted by the intensity of the battle this season and the feeling that he needed to lead the team more than was sometimes necessary. He has already admitted that he needs to think about winter as he can become cleaner in 2019.
If he's at it, it could be worse than finding a way to prevent his emotional reactions from being easily overreacted when he's in the car.
Ferrari's Favorites & # 39; for the race
The Weighbridge accident occurred because Ferrari had decided to call Vettel and his teammate Kimi Raikkonen after doing just one round of exploration to assemble the "soft" tires rather than the "super softs" everyone else used.
Why did you want to do that so much? The super softs are faster in the course of a lap but more fragile in the race, and Ferrari wanted to start the race on the softs and decided to take the risk that the rain stayed long enough to get a lap later than anyone else.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said: "Ferrari had a big gamble in qualifying, changing tires when the rain was imminent and it paid off.
"They are on the sturdier tires for the race and have a disadvantage at the start, but a big advantage over the first 10 or 15 laps, which are shown in our models as a favorite (for the win).
"We did not take that risk because we thought it was disproportionate, but we understand that where Ferrari is now and her only chance to stay fifth in the constructors' championship is to do things differently take risks and today it was worth it. "
Ferrari has lost the title of driver to Hamilton, at least in part because of his own mistakes and the mistakes of his drivers, and he still has a chance at the Constructors' Championship. However, they are 55 points behind the race and must achieve at least 12 points more than Mercedes in Sunday's race to keep the fight alive until the last race in Abu Dhabi in two weeks.
That was the best chance, in her opinion. "Maybe it can make a difference," said Vettel.
Another exercise in tire management
Ferrari made their tire decision because they believe that the "soft" will be much more effective in the expected hotter race conditions.
Vettel already had blistering in Friday's training, and Wolff said avoiding this phenomenon, where the surface overheats and bubbles, will be the key in the race.
"The biggest fight will be to keep these tires alive and not let them blow," he said. "With the disadvantage of the Super-Soft versus the Soft, we're a bit on the back foot – it's about managing this tire carefully until the end of the race – that's the story of the engine race of tomorrow."
This year, this has become a recurring theme and drivers had to drive up to six or seven seconds faster to drive the tires on the required route.
Should this be the case, Wolff was asked? "No, it should not," he answered.
The drivers are tired and put the tire supplier Pirelli under pressure to do something about it – as they did in winter 2015/16. With new tires succeeded for 2017, when the drivers could push more. This year, however, a step backwards was made after Pirelli was asked to produce softer tires, an unsuccessful attempt to provoke further pit stops.
Wolff said: "Pirelli had a good meeting with the drivers yesterday and we strongly supported Pirelli because we know that this is a difficult task.
"But in recent years, we've simply asked for the wrong things from them, softening, softening and softening the compounds to cause deterioration and more pit stops, strategists say the fastest race time is manage these tires and try to reach one or two stops.
"We're going in the wrong direction, we need sturdy tires that Pirelli can produce perfectly, you just have to have the right targets, and the riders can push the tire harder – you can stay in the front of the vehicle." and we will not see any blistering that causes those seven seconds that you mentioned. "
Anyone who thinks F1 has to be motorists always pushing to their limits will listen to music in their ears and Pirelli's thermally sensitive tires have damaged the spectacle of the sport.
Another Indy passion for Alonso
The Formula 1 career of Fernando Alonso is extremely unsatisfactory due to the fatal performance of his McLaren car.
On Saturday, the McLaren was the slowest car in Interlagos, and he was 18 years old. His only satisfaction was that he beat his team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne – for the 20th time in 20 races of the year – and Lance Stroll's Williams.
In his last race in Abu Dhabi, he expects a similar fight. "We will invest a lot of emotions and effort and will be out in the first quarter because there is no wonder from race to race," he said.
On Saturday, however, Alonso confirmed a reason to be optimistic about the future when McLaren confirmed that he will return to the Indy 500 next year.
McLaren says they will drive the car and that it will not be another team satellite operation, as it was when Alonso made his first attempt with Indy in 2017 with a McLaren car from Andretti Autosport.
In addition, McLaren refused to disclose further details, although it can be expected that Alonso's car will have a Chevrolet engine as Honda, the other provider, refuses to deliver it due to the fragile nature of their relationship in F1 2015 -17.
At the press conference, after the announcement, there was a wink in Alonso's eyes.
"Indy is very special," he said. "It's totally unpredictable until the last 20 laps, with the first 180 laps in the last 20 laps to contend for victory, which is unlike any other race in motorsport."
In just four races, Alonso is not officially present for the coming year – Indy and the last three World Endurance Championship races of the "Super Season" 2018-19-19.
That's not much for a man who has admitted that he would like to drive every weekend. Is not there a danger that he will be bored?
"I will do much more, but you will experience it step by step," he said. "Today is the first day, except for the races, the three WEC races, there are four tests for them so if you add the three race weekends of the race and test four weeks, it will be seven to June and IndyCar testing and two weeks of the Indy 500.
"If you see the calendar through June, it may give you two weeks off, and even if it does not seem like too many races, there's a lot of preparation for those races, and I'm looking forward to it, and it's good to be back at Indy . "