First of all, I am a huge Sebastian Vettel fan but regarding the 3 place grid drop I have to say this;
CONSCIOUSLY and INTENTIONALLY failed to slow sufficiently for red flags in the ...and here's why;
1. Vettel is not a rookie. He's a four-time World Champion. He knows the rules and regulations (even the ammendments) and has in the past demonstrated a cunning ability to play the rules to his advantage. Remember his double pit lane overtake at the 2016??? 2. took 27.7 seconds to slow down and when you review the onboard, he initially slowed to about 109kmph and then interestingly sped up to 138kmph, slowed down to 100kmph before curiously speeding up again to 171kmph and finally slowing to the limit. While you might argue that its standard practice to try and keep to set times on the dash, this was a red flag situation (not yellow or VSC) he knew exactly what he was doing - and what the penalty would be.
3. Vettel (and ) know that they have atleast a half sec pace deficit to Mercedes and even worse, in the wet situations, Ferrari have been unable to match up to both Mercedes drivers. It is in that needs to beat Vettel by 8 points or more to win the 2018 WDC and Vettel knows this very well. I find it very conceivable that Vettel, in his genius self, is just softening the blow of losing the WDC fair and square by getting himself penalized and virtually leaving him no chance of keeping the title fight alive. Remember the media, and particularly the Italians, have totally torn into Ferrari and Vettel. But since the incidence at FP1, now the talk at the is that Vettel has no chance of keeping the title fight alive with an 'unfair' 3 place grid penalty. All over (even amongst the competition) everyone is now blaming the FIA for handing the title to Mercedes.
Gives Ferrari an honourable defeat and Vettel can say he couldnt help but lose the WDC because of 3 place grid drop handed to him by FIA.
Very well played Sebastian Vettel.
That said, I think Ferrari should now switch to developing next years car, tidying up their strategy team and execution as well as preparing for a tough