During last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel rammed title rival Lewis Hamilton after the Mercedes driver slowed his vehicle while exiting Turn 15.
Hamilton branded Vettel’s driving in Baku “dangerous” and “disgusting” after the Ferrari twice hit his Mercedes.
But it was the chaotic incident involving the two that will dominate the aftermath of the race after the Ferrari driver ran into the back of leader Hamilton as they prepared for a restart after the second Safety Car of the afternoon.
Hamilton finished fifth, one place behind Vettel, and is now 14 points behind him in the title race after eight of this year’s 20 races.
An angry German was protesting what he had perceived to be a brake-test from the Briton while the three-time world champion was managing the pace under the Safety Car, though the data later showed Vettel’s assumption to be incorrect. “I think that says it all”.
“Yesterday was such a great day already, getting back after a couple of races where it didn’t go so well, back in Q3 for the first time since China yesterday”. Imagine all the kids watching Formula 1 today and seeing that kind of behaviour from a four-time world champion.
In a post-race statement, the stewards made clear that Vettel’s penalty had been given for the incident in which he drove into Hamilton.
“Today was obviously a different Sebastian than we saw in those seven races, and I like to think that I remained respectful”, Hamilton said. No question. But to drive next to him and hit him on goal, I have never seen anything like this. No question. But then to drive next to him and hit him on goal, I have never seen anything like this. Frustrated, the German then berated the Mercedes driver before pulling up alongside him and appearing to intentionally ram into him from the right hand side. “We’ve been racing for years, we just don’t do that”.
“I honestly would never have thought that that would have happened, but we can only look at that as a positive for us.”
We are both grown up men.
Hamilton, who had dominated after a strong start from his 66th pole position, was also undone by a loose headrest that caused him to be ordered to pit for repairs, for safety reasons. Unsafe driving and you get a 10 second penalty for that kind of thing, I think that’s just.
Indeed Hamilton, now 14 points adrift of his championship rival after he crossed the line only fifth, was furious with Vettel’s actions branding the German a “disgrace”, while also suggesting he take on his rival “out of the auto, face-to-face”. “We had the upper hand this weekend, we can move forwards in the future, I think through hard times true colours show, so a good day for me”.
“No. We’re grown-ups and people expect us to race and use our elbows, that’s what they want”. “It was such a hectic race and I kept my head cool, the team kept me cool over the radio and we took it to the end”.