Things were going to boil over at some point in the title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. We have looked forward to the fight between these two drivers who have seven world titles between them.
Both men have huge respect for each other and have been racing in Formula One for the same number of years, thou Vettel’s career started in mid-2007. We know they are great drivers, we have seen both of them fight and race well against others. They will blame each other, but that is normal
what happened in Baku?
Hamilton was leading the race behind the safety car. the race leader always dictates the restart speed, Vettel appears to drive into the back of him, then it looks like he touches the side of the Mercedes trying to pass him.
The rules say on the restart the race leader sets the restart speed, so Hamilton had the right to do that. But, Vettel was following a bit too close. But the rules also say he must remain within ten car lengths of the safety car.
Vettel would have seen Hamilton pull away from Sergio Perez on the first restart and would have noted what Hamilton did, so would have noted it in his and would have responded.
F1 Vault’s analyst, Jason Fluhrer said simply “Vettel was idiotic don’t know what came over him.”
Vettel’s penalty wasn’t for the initial contact, it was for running alongside and banging wheels alongside on Hamilton. But, if Vettel has two more penalty points in Austria, he will miss Silverstone.
Their own words
Lewis Hamilton “ I definitely didn’t brake-test Sebastian. I controlled the pace under the Safety Car and, just like with the other restarts, I slowed down in the same place on the entry to T15.”
“At that point, it is up to me to control the pace and then I felt a bump from behind. But that wasn’t the issue for me – everybody saw clearly what happened after.”
Sebastian Vettel “As for what happened at the restart from the safety car, I don’t know why I got the penalty and Lewis didn’t. It’s disappointing because it could have been a better result.”
“I don’t have a problem with Lewis but I just think that what he did on the track was not ok.”
“Vettel fans will say he’s biased towards Hamilton and he will likely lose the championship lead but I believe that is the punishment deserved. I’m not being biased to Hamilton because, I believe he should have been a bit quicker on the exit of that turn instead of basically parking it on the apex.”
“I just think it was a cheeky tactic by Hamilton to get a better restart which I disagree with Him doing because it caused chaos afterwards I believe his tactics should have earned him a time penalty not as severe as (Vettel’s) five seconds no more but I also believe (Vettel) needed more of a harsh penalty”
Should they have both been penalised or no penalty?
The stewards found Vettel was at fault for the second touch which earned him the penalty. We know the race leader dictates the restart and everyone else needs to respond to the leader, so yes Vettel should have responded.
I think if it was just that one incident he would not have got the penalty, a reprimand yes. But the fact is that Vettel responded by banging wheels with Hamilton as they ran alongside the Mercedes. I think that why the penalty was given.
But, I think there is a flag on both of them should they repeat the behaviour, I feel neither Vettel or Hamilton will be let off lightly.
what does it mean for the championship?
Before this race, we had a very respectful fight between Vettel and Hamilton. But, we all know at some point this respectful fight between them would boil over. The question is going forward is ‘how do they fight and will that respect return?’
They both are very good drivers and the best of this generation. We have wanted to see them fight wheel to wheel for the championship, but this needs to be respectful. Hamilton v Vettel is the headline, this season has been about that and it will be for the rest of 2017!