Disgusting and dangerous. These are the two words that Lewis Hamilton used to describe Sebastian Vettel after their coming together at the Azerbaijan GP. In an action-packed race, it was the coming together of the two championship rivals that stole the headlines from race winner Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas who came back from last place and a lap down to claim second, and Lance Stroll who scored his first ever career podium. This race literally had it all, but the destruction of mutual respect between Hamilton and Vettel was the main talking point.
The incident that the whole Formula 1 world is talking about occurred behind one of the three safety car periods where Vettel ran into the back of Hamilton and then, unbelievably, drove alongside Hamilton and turned his Ferrari into the silver arrows, clashing wheels. Vettel claimed that Hamilton brake checked him, causing Vettel to collide with his championship rival. Shortly after, the race was red flagged for the marshals to clear up the massive amount debris on track.
After the restart Vettel was given a 10 second stop go penalty for colliding with Hamilton, at the same Hamilton was forced to pit due to head rest issues. This meant both drivers would finish off the podium, with Vettel finishing 4th and Hamilton in 5th. The post-race interviews were extraordinary and showed a real breakdown in respect between the two.
Hamilton’s interview began very calmly with him saying he had a good weekend and was looking to just move on. A very respectable and well conducted interview given the circumstances, something I was very surprised by.
It was Vettel’s interview however that, personally left my flabbergasted. Vettel is well respected throughout the paddock and obviously a top talent. So, for him to completely ignore the fact he deliberately drove into Hamilton and play the victim is shocking. Vettel will stand by his claim that Hamilton brake tested him, but the telemetry from Hamilton’s car has proved otherwise. Hamilton carried the same speed in that corner as he had done on the previous restart and Vettel carried more and collided with Hamilton. Vettel’s denial of any responsibility for his own penalty is laughable and more so, his question of “when did I drive dangerously” is bordering on embarrassing.
The bottom line is that Sebastian Vettel is a four time World Champion and should be able to control his emotions better in the car and should be able keep his petulant behaviour under control. Vettel’s behaviour has caused this championship battle to turn nasty. This is not necessarily a bad thing however. Despite the two of them having seven World Championships between them, we have never really been treated to a Hamilton vs Vettel championship battle in any of those championship years.
Both drivers over the years have spoken of the respect they have for one another, even saying that they have enjoyed the battle thus far this season. Because of this incident though, this has surely changed the landscape of the season and should make for a fascinating race in Austria and for the rest of the season.
This post was written by Simon Gray who you can find and follow on Twitter at @SimonGr_91. Enjoyed this post? Please like our page on Facebook, retweet/share this post on Twitter or share with anyone who’d enjoy it too. Thanks for reading.