Niki Lauda: Sebastian Vettel deserves harsher penalty for Valtteri Bottas incident

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Niki Lauda believes Sebastian Vettel should have received a bigger penalty for colliding with Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap of the French Grand Prix.

Vettel and Bottas collided on the run down to Turn 1 after the German locked up his front left tyre, hitting the side of Bottas' Mercedes. Both cars sustained damaged and were forced to pit for repairs.

The stewards awarded Vettel a five-second penalty, but the penalty had little impact on the race after the Ferrari driver managed to build up a substantial gap over Bottas -- who had been nursing floor damage, and the rest of the field.

''I think we could have done and then why Vettel only gets five second [time penalty] for an enormous mistake, I don't really understand. It's too little,'' Lauda told Sky Sports. ''There is more time they can give them. Five seconds is nothing. He really destroyed the whole race for himself and Bottas."

While Bottas could only recover to seventh, Hamilton converted pole position into a dominant victory -- a result which puts him 14 points clear of Vettel at the top of the championship.

''Sometimes he [Hamilton] was pushing but he had the race really under control,'' Lauda added. ''He did no mistakes and the team worked perfect, so fantastic. It's the right result but it would have been better if Bottas had been up there too but nevertheless I thank the whole team and everyone for the result.''