Vettel “Discussing, Disrespectful” – Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton has called Sebastian Vettel driving during Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix as “disgusting” and “disrespectful”. Hamilton has also made clear he believes the Ferrari driver rammed him deliberately during Sunday’s controversial thriller.
Vettel was given a ten-second stop-go penalty by the stewards for hitting Hamilton twice behind the safety car. Hamilton told Sky Sports “The fact that that’s the only kind of result [the penalty] you could get from such disgusting driving, that means for the whole paddock we can all drive like that and you can still score fourth place and still get away with it.”
“I don’t really know what the penalty for that kind of driving is because I haven’t come across that in terms of wheel-to-wheel battling with anyone. It’s just not sportsman conduct” In his media briefing, he says it was disrespectful and wasn’t fair play.
Hamilton suggests that Vettel isn’t mentally strong and that the four-times champion was obviously under pressure. The stewards decided that Vettel ‘steered’ into Hamilton’s car and described the move as ‘potentially dangerous’.
Saying “There was no reason to pull up alongside the leader at that point and it couldn’t be clearer.”
Wanting to ‘clear the air’ – Vettel
Sebastian Vettel says that he wants talks with Lewis Hamilton following their collision in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver was awarded a ten second stop – go penalty for driving into Hamilton on the second restart.
It was clear that Vettel hit the back of Hamilton, but the Ferrari driver has claimed that he was break tested by the Mercedes driver, but the FIA say there was no evidence in the data. Vettel says that Hamilton himself should have also been punished.
Vettel told Autosport, “I don’t have a problem with him. I respect him a lot for the driver he is. I don’t think that was his intention [to damage Vettel’s car in the first touch] because he’s also risking damage to his car, and his race is over.”
“Now is not the right time to talk. I’ll do that just with him and clear it and move on. Maybe I’m not clever enough but I’m not complicated. I’m willing to sort it out with him. I don’t think there’s much to sort out.”
Vettel finished ahead of Hamilton in the race, after the Mercedes driver’s headrest came loose, forcing him into another pit stop. Vettel is now just under three points away from a race ban, though three of those points expire after the next race in Austria.
When asked if felt his actions would tarnish his reputation, the four-time world champion said: “No. We’re here to race. We’re grown-ups and people expect us to race and use our elbows, that’s what people want.
Unacceptable collision – Force India
Force India are to tell their drivers, Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, that their collisions in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, are “unacceptable” after the team missed out on a podium.
Ocon and Perez collided when fighting for a potential podium at turn two on the second restart. Ocon suffered a puncture, broken brake duct, T-wing and floor but was able to continue after a pit stop, while Perez was initially retired from the race with a broken track rod.
Ocon’s car was repaired under the red flag and he re-joined a lap down. But the team are still unhappy that a podium slipped away from them because they were running ahead of eventual winner Daniel Ricciardo before their clash.
Chief Operating Officer, Otmar Szafnauer told Autosport “The worst thing you can do is hit your team-mate because it gives other teams opportunities that they really shouldn’t have had.”
“It is pretty tricky too because it is a street circuit, and anywhere else Checo would have been able to move over a bit and they would have been fine. But there is a wall there.”
Szafnauer said the team will definitely be reviewing the incident and be telling their drivers that it was unacceptable. “It’s bad enough if you run into a competitor because that can damage your race, but not your team-mate because that can take you both out., he added.
Restart was dangerous – Sainz
Carlos Sainz has labelled the restart of Sundays Azerbaijan Grand Prix as “dangerous” and called for a rethink of the restart procedures for next years race.
The Spaniard recovered from a spin to finish eighth in the race, despite the chaos during the race. The race saw numerous drivers colliding spreading debris over the track. Plus the clash between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
Sainz told ESPN “It was probably the most dangerous part of the race when we restart,” Sainz explained. “The leaders were waiting up until the safety car line to start and at the same time they were going fast and slow.”
“For the guys at the back we are still in the corners when they going fast, slow, there’s walls and we cannot see through them. So suddenly we are going flat-out sixth, seventh gear and they were braking again. For me, a bit on the dangerous side.”
Sainz says for next years race a rule should be put in place to require the leader to restart at turn sixteen, because “Suddenly you are upshifting and upshifting, and braking again. It was probably the most dangerous part of the race.”
The Spaniard admitted he would have probably done the same.
Asked if he thought red-flagging the race in order to clean up debris at Turn 1 was the correct decision, Sainz replied: “I think in general the whole weekend has been pretty slow recovery. I don’t think the red flag was necessary or maybe yes because there was so much debris, I don’t know.”
Honda relived by first points
Honda’s head of F1 Yusuke Hasegawa is “very relieved” after McLaren scored their first points of the season in Azerbaijan.
In recent weeks the relationship between McLaren and Honda has appeared to be a civil war as they grew more frustrated by poor engine reliability and performance. But, the race will ease the pressure as Fernando Alonso used the chaos to score the team’s first points.
Honda also say the latest engine upgrade delivered what they expected in terms of performance. Hasegawa told Autosport “I’m very relieved that we could get points. The drivers made a very good job in a race of survival and we are very pleased about that.”
“It’s very important [to get two cars to the finish]. We didn’t have a big concern [regarding reliability], even if we were introducing a new engine and MGU-H.” Hasegawa added he was pleased that progress has been made on reliability.
However, conceded Honda still has a long way to go to close the gap to its rivals. Saying “It’s very positive, but just with one race, I couldn’t say we are very confident. From a performance point of view, just 13 cars finished, so it’s fair to say we’re not very fast.”
Tyres for Austria
Pirelli has announced the drivers tyre allocations for next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. For the race the tyre manufacturer is bringing the softest end of the tyre compounds, chosing the yellow soft, the red supersoft and the purple ultrasoft.
Both Mercedes drivers have eight sets of the ultrasofts, with Lewis Hamilton having three sets of supersofts to Valtteri Bottas’s four and that leaves the Finn with a single soft.
Both Red Bulls have the same allocation, with nine ultrasoft, then two of both the supersofts and softs. Force India and McLaren have chosen ten ultrasofts, two supersofts andf a soft for all their drivers.
Both Toro Rosso and Renault drivers have eight ultrasofts, three supersofts and two softs. Ferrari have chosen seven ultrasofts, but Sebastian Vettel has five supersofts and a single soft, while Raikkonen has four supersofts and two softs.
Williams have chosen eight ultrasofts, Felipe Massa has two supersofts and a soft. But Lance Stroll has four supersoft and a soft. Both Haas’s have seven ultrasofts, five supersofts and a soft.
Renault have the same allocation, eight ultrasofts, three supersofts and two softs. Both Saubers have seven ultrasofts, with Pascal Wehrlein splitting the rest three of both the supersofts and soft. But Marcus Ericson has an extra supersoft.
Verstappen jokes about Baku retirement
Max Verstappen has jokingly said that the Red Bull simulator will be more reliable than his car. The Dutchman suffered his third retirement of the season because of technical problems in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The specific cause of the recent problem which saw him retire from fourth remains a mystery, but Red Bull is looking into the issue. Speaking on Dutch TV, Verstappen said “This was an engine problem and, unfortunately, not the first time.”
“It’s really gutting to drop out again when you’re in such a good position. If you look at how hard the guys work day and night to make the car work perfectly, then they’re really gutted as well when it breaks down.”
Verstappen earnt a £22,150 fine, because he failed to speak to the media. He said “I didn’t really feel like [talking] at that moment. I stayed at the track for half an hour to talk about the race and the balance of the car with my engineers and then I left.”
British GP revised schedule
Organisers of the British Grand Prix have confirmed the revised weekend timetable, with the Formula Two and GP3 practice sessions now taking place on Thursday 13th of July.
The move will free up time later in the race weekend and one-day tickets have been put on sale at £40 for adults and £20 for children.
Those who have already bought weekend tickets will get access on Thursday too, but this will not include entry to a Travis music concert in the evening.
There has been no change to the Formula One sessions.