Mercedes' Hamilton questions German's dangerous driving as the two crash at Azerbaijan GP; says if Ferrari driver wants to prove he is a man, they could do it outside the car
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel. Pic/Getty Images
Lewis Hamilton has accused Sebastian Vettel of acting like a "disgrace" after he was deemed to have deliberately crashed into his title rival during a chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Despite all the drama, four-time champion Vettel was under pressure to issue an apology to Hamilton after his dangerous actions were deemed to have brought the sport into disrepute.
Vettel rammed into the back of Hamilton as the Safety Car was deployed for a second time. Then, the 29-year-old German, furiously gesticulating with both hands, pulled alongside Hamilton, before inexplicably driving into the side of his rival's car.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton
"For him to pretty much get away with driving into another driver is a disgrace," Hamilton said.
"I think he disgraced himself today. If he wants to prove he is a man we should do it out of the car, face-to-face. It is a misjudgement from him and some people don't like to own up to their own mistakes. The stewards looked at my data and the reason I didn't get a penalty is because I clearly did not brake test him. Ultimately what happened was disrespectful. There are kids watching us on TV. You think a multi-time world champion would behave better than that. I really hope that kids don't see that and think that is the right way. That is not how you drive."
However, the German showed little sign of backing down. While he vowed to speak to Hamilton, an apology was not on the cards. "We had a little contact, but I drove alongside him, mostly to raise my hand. I did not give him the finger. I just wanted to tell him, because I can't literally talk to him, that what he did was not right. I don't agree with the penalty I got. If you penalise me then you should penalise both of us because that was not the way to do it," Vettel added.
Hamilton had already complained that the safety car was driving too slowly and feared it would lead to an accident. On lap 19, Hamilton bunched up the pack before the restart, as is within his rights, but Vettel drove into the back of his Mercedes, appearing to have misjudged his actions. Vettel felt Hamilton had slowed down on purpose and remonstrated his anger by pulling alongside the Brit and ramming into his car.
Who was in the wrong?
The stewards sided with Hamilton as they slapped Vettel with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, and latterly three points on his licence for dangerous driving. Vettel, for his part, denied any wrongdoing, although the consensus in the paddock was that he had clearly been at fault.
Will Vettel face further action?
It is unlikely. Hamilton's Mercedes team could have protested the result, but chose not to. Hamilton's rivalry with Vettel had been startling by its lack of animosity. That, however, would appear to end here.
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