Azerbaijan GP – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has refused to be drawn on whether his wheel banging incident with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was deliberate.
The two championship rivals were P1 & P2 under the Safety Car in Sunday’s race, when Vettel appeared to be caught out by Hamilton slowing down on the apex of a corner. Smacking into the back of the Merc, Vettel was clearly incensed and drew alongside Hamilton to show his annoyance. He did this by waving his hand in the air in anger before swerving into the side of the Merc, banging wheels together.
An FIA investigation followed, with Vettel handed a ten second stop & go penalty and three penalty points. The penalty meant he finished P4, but still ahead of Hamilton after the Mercedes driver had to make an unscheduled stop to have a loose headrest refitted.
I drove alongside and we had a little contact. I drove alongside to raise my hand and…I didn’t give him the finger or anything, I just wanted to tell him; well, not literally talk to him, to tell him that that wasn’t right.” explained Vettel to NSBC after the race.
Asked whether the move was deliberate, Vettel said “What? Raising the hand?” before saying “I don’t think it was deliberate of him to brake check me, I don’t think he’s that kind of guy. Obviously that’s what it turned out to be, and I wasn’t happy about that.”.
Pressed to answer specifically whether he deliberately hit Hamilton’s car, Vettel was evasive: “I drove alongside and raised my hand because…that’s not the way to do it. I damaged my front wing, and I think he had a price to pay as well by having some slight damage to his car as well.”
“I don’t agree with the penalty I got, because I feel that if i got penalised, we both should have been”.
Vettel’s lead in the championship grew after the Baku race, but the 4 time Champion is just three points away from a race suspension as he is now on 9 penalty points in the current 12 month period.