Lewis Hamilton accused Formula One rival Sebastian Vettel of disgracing himself and deliberately driving into his vehicle as a bitter clash between the two world championship rivals dominated Sunday’s Grand Prix in Azerbaijan.
Vettel recovered from his penalty to finish fourth, one spot ahead of Hamilton, extending his title lead over the Brit to 14 points.
After the race, a somewhat calmer Vettel reportedly admitted that Hamilton likely wasn’t trying to make him damage his Ferrari, as that would compromise the Mercedes’ driver’s race too.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo won what will be regarded as a race for the ages following three safety auto periods, one red flag and a series of notable incidents.
Ricciardo also jumped to the defence of Hamilton – whom Vettel accused of brake-testing him -, saying he is within his rights to dictate the pace as he sees fit. “It was obviously a different Sebastian from what we’ve seen in these eight races, and I like to think that I remain respectful and I will continue to do so”.
Hamilton, who led for much of a race that was red-flagged on lap 21 as the street circuit was cleared of debris, suffered his misfortune on the 32nd of 51 laps.
“Nothing happened, did it?” He brake checked me as well, so what do you expect?
“I nearly can’t imagine that he did it on objective in shunting into him”, Wolff said. “I don’t need to say anything else”.
“He’s done something similar in China a couple of years ago”, Vettel added.
The clash dominated a race won by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo with Williams’ 18-year-old driver, Lance Stroll making the podium.
The Ferrari driver was slapped with a ten-second stop-go penalty but still finished the race in fourth place, one position ahead of Hamilton. They are fighting for the race wins and the championship.
Hamilton’s rivalry with Vettel this season had been noted for its cordiality, but that changed in an instant against the backdrop of Caspian Sea. “I didn’t run into the back of him on goal”.
“We are racing with men, I don’t have radio (communication) to him, if I got a penalty we should both have got a penalty”, Vettel said afterwards. If everything goes wrong he’s still thinking somewhere in his brain: “‘It’s not my fault.’ I think after three days he realizes and hopefully then he will be normal again”. “There are kids watching us on TV and to see a multiple world champion… you’d think he would behave better than that”. “I enjoyed the race but I don’t think it’s the right thing that I got a penalty and he didn’t”.
“I’ll do that just with him and clear it and move on”.
FORMULA ONE megastar Lewis Hamilton posted a selfie with Neymar as he enjoyed Barcelona’s brilliant Champions League win.
“It’s going to be a great championship battle throughout the rest of this year”.