Vettel believed Hamilton had brake-tested him just before a restart at the Baku street track, pulling alongside, raising his hands in frustration and making wheel-to-wheel contact with the Mercedes.
Interestingly, FIA analysis later found that Hamilton did not brake test Vettel.
The seemingly deliberate swipe saw Vettel pick up a 10-second stop/go penalty from the stewards, which dropped him out of winning contention.
As it so happened, Hamilton’s car developed a loose headrest and he had to pit to get it fixed, so Vettel ended up finishing just ahead of the Brit in fourth.
The fairly low-level penalty for what appeared to be a deliberate hit surprised many and there were reports that FIA president Jean Todt was unhappy with the decision.
Especially after his swear-filled rant at FIA race director Charlie Whiting during last year’s Mexican GP, which almost resulted in Vettel being brought before the FIA’s International Tribunal.
Well, now, on Wednesday, the FIA has confirmed it has launched an official investigation into the incident to see whether further action on Vettel should be taken.
So, this bonkers Baku drama has taken another turn! The FIA spokesperson said a decision on whether further action is taken will come before the next round at the Red Bull Ring.
Here’s the FIA statement in full:
“Following the recent incident at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in which car #5 (Sebastian Vettel) was involved in a collision with car #44 (Lewis Hamilton), on Monday July 3 the FIA will further examine the causes of the incident in order to evaluate whether further action is necessary. A statement regarding the outcome of this process will be made available before the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix.”
Somewhat ironically, for Vettel, the 3 July is his 30th birthday. He could be in for a not-so-nice present…
Do you think this is the right call? Let us know in the comments!