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And with that the mutual respect-fest was over


We all knew it was only a matter of time, but on the streets of Baku this afternoon, the mutual respect-fest that has marked the 2017 season thus far appeared to come to an end.

What initially appeared to be a minor incident, with Sebastian Vettel running into the back of title rival Lewis Hamilton as the race resumed after the second Safety Car period subsequently turned out to be something a little more serious... though it has kicked new life into the title fight.

At the time of the incident, the German claimed the Briton had "brake tested" him, deliberately slowing in an attempt to cause the Ferrari driver problems.

However, as officials announced they were to investigate the incident, television replays showed that in the moments after the alleged 'brake test', Vettel pulled alongside the Mercedes driver and drove into him whilst also gesticulating.

Having examined video evidence while the race was still in progress, the stewards deemed that Vettel "drove alongside and then steered into" Hamilton, a manoeuvre they felt was "potentially dangerous".

In addition to a ten second stop and go penalty the German was given three penalty points, thereby bringing his total for the twelve month period up to nine.

Told of the penalty, Vettel twice asked his team what he had done to warrant it, while Hamilton argued with (race director) Charlie Whiting that the punishment wasn't enough.

While the penalty, combined with the fact that Hamilton was heading towards a comfortable win, looked set to diminish Vettel's title lead, the Briton was subsequently forced to make an extra pit stop after his headrest became loose.

At the end of an afternoon of high drama, it was to be expected that there would be further fireworks as both drivers gave their side of the story.

"Deliberately driving into another driver and getting away pretty much scot-free as he still came fourth, I think that's a disgrace," said Hamilton.

"I think he disgraced himself today," he continued. "Imagine all the young kids that are watching Formula One today and see that kind of behaviour from a four-time world champion. I think that says it all.

"If he wants to prove that he's a man, I think we should do it out of the car face to face," he added. "Driving dangerously, which can put another driver at risk, if we had been going fast it could've been a lot worse.

"It definitely sets a precedent within F1," he insisted, "and it does for all the young kids that are watching us drive and conduct ourselves. They've seen today how a four-time champion behaves and I think, hopefully, that doesn't ripple into the younger categories."

Referring to the alleged brake test, he said: "Like all the other restarts, I slowed down in the same spot. He was obviously sleeping and drove into the back of me. That wasn't, for me, an issue."

"I wasn't happy with the brake-testing," insisted Vettel. "I drove alongside him and raised my hand to say that is not the way to do it and we had a little contact."

"I didn't run into the back of him on purpose," he continued. "I damaged my wing; he had a little damage as well.

"His restart was really good, I didn't think it was necessary. The problem is me right behind getting ready and all the other cars. He did something similar a couple of years ago in China at the restart. It is not the way to do it.

"The leader dictates the pace," he argued, "but we were exiting the corner, he was accelerating and then he braked so much that I was braking as soon as I saw and I could not stop in time and ran into the back of him. That was just not necessary.

"I don't have a problem with him," added the German. "It is just one action today that was wrong. I am willing to sort it out with him. I don't think there is much to sort out.

"I will talk to him when you are not there," he said, referring to the media, "and then we move on."

Asked if the title fight will now be a no-holds barred affair, Hamilton said: "Not for me. I am going keep to going. We had the upper hand this weekend. We can continue to move forwards in the future. Through difficult times true colours show, so it is a good day for me."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Baku, here.


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1. Posted by Pavlo, 27/06/2017 14:48

"I disagree with Lewis completely here. I also think that the punishment should have been harder, but point is Lewis lost to him only because of completely unrelated issue. If not that issue - Vettel had no chance to overtake Lewis.
I also don't like that Bottas rammed Kimi and managed to get P2 while Kimi didn't finish. I also find it unfair that Bottas (being guilty) got the opportunity to get within the lap but Kimy being a victim didn't and was punished additionally. But that's race and rules are same for everyone, even if you are sometimes unlucky."

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2. Posted by Mad Matt, 27/06/2017 9:07

"Obviously Vettel's actions were out of order and he deserved the penalty he got. I agree that he may not have driven into Hamilton deliberately but he shouldn't have reacted as he did and then he wouldn't have been in that position.

Hamilton seemed to accelerate and slow a lot, which I thought wasn't allowed, I thought if you went, you went. The leader can dictate the pace but has to drive consistently.

To be honest the pair of them act like whiny five year olds...."

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3. Posted by Kkiirmki, 26/06/2017 0:06

"Whilst not condoning his actions, I'm not convinced he deliberately rammed Hamilton. To me, it looked like Vettel was gesticulating so wildly, he forgot to keep his hands on the steering wheel and inadvertently drifted into Hamilton's car. However, to feign ignorance when given the penalty, and even after the race, during the post race interviews, was a little bewildering.

The worst thing for him, he would have won the race, if not for his stupidity.


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4. Posted by NickK, 25/06/2017 23:46

"Presumably the telemetry data would show if and when Lewis braked, but either way Vettel's blatent, stupid, arrogant behavior was wholly wrong and deserving of a much more severe penalty. In my view he should have been black flagged. "

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5. Posted by mickl, 25/06/2017 22:07

"@GrahamG...assume you actually watched the race itself instead of simply commenting as a hater and a troll? The graphics on the replay showed Hamilton had braked GOING INTO the corner and was NOT braking or accelerating (no brake or throttle movement) as he came out of it to give space for the safety car to be able to clear into the pits. On board clearly camera shows Vettel, after hitting Hamilton, pulling alongside and running into the side of Hamilton deliberately. Vettel was not paying attention and was too focused on not letting the car behind not getting the jump on him as Perez almost did on the previous restart. It's not like Vettel hasn't got previous for hitting the lead car from a pace car restart...just ask Mark Webber.

Or is GrahamG saying deliberately running your car into another driver's car is acceptable behaviour and Vettel should be applauded for being so forceful and manly..................

Happy to hear a clear and measured response to prove your argument and to prove me wrong but I doubt it would be forthcoming.

BTW I'm far from a Hamilton fan and I'm really happy Danny Ric won and Lance Stroll got his first podium."

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6. Posted by GrahamG, 25/06/2017 21:51

"oh dear the baby's been beaten and he has to throw his toys out of the cot.
Grow up Hamilton, as soon as you don't have the fastest car admit you are not really that good a driver
Let the adults play"

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