“I didn’t brake check him“, said Hamilton.
Inevitably Sebastian Vettel’s “heat of the moment” lunge at Lewis Hamilton was the main talking point after the Azerbaijan GP, with both the nature of the move and the size of the penalty – a 10-second stop-and-go – generating debate. In that case, it is Vettel’s own fault that he ran into the back of Hamilton, so he had no need to be upset, much less slam into Hamilton because of it. I controlled the pace. In the end, we’re racing as men.
Hamilton began the race in pole and established himself as race leader, but his progress was stymied when he was forced to pit due to a loose head rest.
When asked if he suspected that Vettel is not as mentally strong as some give him credit for, Hamilton said: “Well I think that’s been kind of obvious for some time. I drove alongside him and raised my hand to say that is not the way to do it and we had a little contact”.
Vettel was penalised for deliberately driving into the Mercedes driver during a race restart in an act of revenge for Hamilton’s supposed brake test on the German – which the FIA later cleared Hamilton of, having studied the data from his vehicle.
Just when we thought F1 couldn’t get any more exciting, Azerbaijan Grand Prix raised the madness quotient and how. “I don’t think there is a big problem”. At that point, it is up to me to control the pace and then I felt a bump from behind. Driving dangerously can, in any way, put another driver at risk.
“I think he disgraced himself today, to be honest”, he added.
“When did I do unsafe driving, then?”
“We’re the World Champions, we’re the best drivers in the world. maybe if you [a journalist] are going down the road in your road auto and you put your hand out the window and do this, you might swerve to the right. but we don’t do that”.
“For me the analogy is to rugby”, he said.
“I enjoyed the race but I don’t think it’s the right thing that I got a penalty and he didn’t”. “Through hard times true colours show, so it is a good day for me”. I’m willing to sort it out with him. If I’m struggling, people at the back struggling even more, so I don’t think it was necessary. I see what you are trying to get it but I respect him a lot for the driver he is, but now is not the right time to talk because you [media] are all around.