Hamilton claims Vettel broke safety car rules

30/04/2018
NEWS STORY

Lewis Hamilton has accused title rival Sebastian Vettel of breaking the safety car rules during yesterday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Article 39.13 of the Sporting Regulations, states that: "In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pits, from the point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart."

However, Hamilton claims that Vettel repeatedly accelerated and then slowed behind the safety car yesterday, and also during the season opening Australian Grand Prix.

"You are not allowed to start and stop, start and stop," said Hamilton, according to the BBC. "You're not allowed to fake the guy behind.

"If there was not that rule, that's what you'd do because eventually you'd catch them sleeping," he added.

"In Australia he accelerated and braked and I nearly went into the back of him and he did it four times (today), I need to speak to Charlie, because I don't understand.

"I understand he passed it to the stewards but they didn't do anything. They supposedly said everyone was doing it. But we're the leaders and it cascades down, what the first car does everyone does the same thing. That now sets a precedent, and it means everyone who is leading under a safety car can start-stop, start-stop.

"I need to get it rectified when I have the briefing next because clearly they don't care about it," he concluded. "And if that's the case we will see more of it. I will expect it from him next time and I will try to prepare."

Ironically, Vettel made virtually the same accusation of Hamilton last year in Baku, the German claiming that it was Hamilton's tactics behind the safety car that eventually brought on his infamous 'red mist' moment.

Speaking to the media after the race, Race Director, Charlie Whiting denied there was an issue.

"I think they controlled it very well," he said, "but it's up to the leading driver only. Unlike other series they have an acceleration zone, a 300-metre zone where they can accelerate and I do not see any problem at all."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Baku, here.

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Published: 30/04/2018
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