Up until now the rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel has been a little bit friendlier than you’d expect from two guys fighting it out for the World Championship. It’s safe to say the honeymoon period is well and truly over now though following the collision between the two behind the safety car in the Azerbaijan GP.
Vettel was sure that he was brake tested by Hamilton as they were preparing for the restart, and in a fit of mild race pulled alongside the Mercedes driver and gave booped his car into Hamilton’s.
On TV at the time it did look as though Lewis had been up to his old antics from the 2007 Japanese GP, but it was only Vettel who got penalised for his actions with a 10-second stop-go penalty.
That’s because during the race the stewards analysed what Hamilton had done and found no evidence that he’d brake tested the Ferrari driver. In fact, he’d done exactly the same thing he had at the first safety car restart.
Vettel however refused to admit that he was in the wrong and that Hamilton did in fact slow down in front of him. He said:
“Well we know the leader dictates the pace but we were exiting the corner,” said Vettel. “He was accelerating then he braked so much that I was braking as soon as I saw, but I couldn’t stop in time and ran into the back of him. I just think that wasn’t necessary.”
He also disagreed with the penalty he was given. The stewards deemed that Vettel had steered into Lewis on purpose and that it was a dangerous bit of driving. Vettel downplayed the incident though, saying:
“I drove alongside, then we had a little contact but I drove alongside mostly to raise my hand. I didn’t give him a finger or anything, I just wanted to tell because I can’t literally talk to him that that was not right.”
I think many people disagree with your penalty, Seb, albeit at the other end of the scale.
As well as the stop-go penalty Vettel was also dealt three points on his superlicence, giving him nine in total over the past 12 months. If he reaches 12 points he’ll get a race ban, however some of those will expire following the Austrian Grand Prix. As long as he can get through that cleanly then he should be alright…