"Stay classy" warns Ferrari boss Arrivabene following Mercedes claims


If the 2018 Formula One World Championship was missing one important element it was "needle".

As at the start of 2017, nobody likes to see the protagonists slapping one another on the back and congratulating each other.

No, what everyone - particularly the media - wants is a good guy and a bad guy, and Sebastian Vettel's silliness in Baku last year ensured that both roles were filled.

Despite the competitiveness of this year's championship, with three teams and six drivers all in with a shout, it was still lacking that 'nasty' element again.

Then, in the moments following yesterday's podium ceremony, Lewis Hamilton provided it.

"The team did an amazing job this weekend," he said, "and we've got so much support. There's so much pressure obviously for us all.

"Interesting tactics, I would say, from their side" he added, "but we'll do what we can to fight them and improve in the next races."

Immediately the "interesting tactics" comment was seized upon, for the Briton's frosty demeanour in the ante-room before the ceremony, where he avoided any contact with Kimi Raikkonen, with whom he has clashed at the start, was noticeable.

Shortly after, Toto Wolff added further fuel to a fire that was now beginning to smoulder.

"First time we get taken out, now today is the second time we get taken out, that's a lot of constructor points," said the Austrian.

"In James Allison's words," he continued, referring to the team's technical director, "'do you think it's deliberate or incompetence', so this leaves us with a judgement."

Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda appeared to share a similar view.

"The accident was unfair basically," he told Motorsport.com, "because it's the second time a Ferrari hits us in the first corner, and it's not funny. But that's the way it is."

"It was wrong when they gave Vettel five seconds," he added, referring to the penalty meted out to Vettel following his first corner clash with Valtteri Bottas in France. "At least now they gave Kimi 10 seconds at least. The stewards realised what's going on here."

Speaking to Sky Italia, Maurizio Arrivabene reacted to Allison's comment, in a move which will ensure the row takes centre stage when the championship resumes next week in Germany.

Arrivabene, who usually avoids the TV cameras as much as possible, actually sought out Sky Italia to voice his disgust at the claims.

"I came here to clarify, if he actually said something like that, he should be ashamed of himself," he began, referring to Allison's deliberate or incompetence comments, "because he worked many years in Maranello, he took quite a bit of money from Maranello as well, today he's doing his job, you have to be elegant and know how to lose.

"We're here in England," he continued, "sometimes they want to teach us how to be gentlemen, he should start first. Really, this annoyed me so much.

"Incompetent, who Kimi?" he added. "Who is he to judge what a driver is doing in the car, I can accept it from Jacques (Villeneuve) because he's been a driver, but that person? No.

"First of all, he should look at the telemetry and understand that his driver, unfortunately for himself, had a bad start, so having a bad start he immediately lost two positions. Kimi had a good start, we have the telemetry data, so he found himself immediately on top of Hamilton.

"I want to remind everyone that in China we had a situation between Vettel and Verstappen and nobody said anything, all fine. But I mean, I want to give them a message: it's been a beautiful battle, a battle that I think the audience appreciated, there will be other battles where most likely Mercedes will win, this is a lesson for us to stay classy, a thing that they haven't done today."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Silverstone, here.

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Published: 09/07/2018
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