A petulant Sebastian Vettel displayed a “fearsome temper” and took an “extraordinary risk” when bumping into Lewis Hamilton at the Azerbaijan GP, according to the Sky F1 pundits.
The championship rivals twice collided within a matter of seconds while following the Safety Car during a chaotic Baku race, with Vettel first going into the back of Hamilton as he claimed the Briton “brake-tested” him around Turn 16.
The Ferrari driver responded by angrily waving his hand from inside the cockpit before pulling alongside Hamilton on the straight, then appearing to swerve into the Mercedes as the two cars made contact.
Hamilton: Vettel driving disgusting
Vettel was given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for his part in the incident but still finished fourth, one place ahead of Hamilton, and extended his title advantage to 14 points.
The German protested his innocence during and after the race, but the Sky F1 pundits believe Vettel can’t argue with his punishment and must take responsibility.
“Vettel was angry and effectively thumped Hamilton with an F1 car,” said Martin Brundle. “It’s an extraordinary thing to do, to risk it like that. The chances of breaking the front suspension are quite high.
“That’s a fearsome temper he is showing.”
The FIA stewards’ official reasoning for Vettel’s penalty was ‘potentially dangerous’ driving, while Hamilton claimed his title rival deserved a firmer reprimand.
1996 world champion Damon Hill agreed, adding: “That was a petulant move and something a four-time world champion should be able to control. It was a rush of blood to the head.”
Could the Vettel-Hamilton rivalry kick off?
Despite claiming seven Formula 1 championships between them, Vettel and Hamilton have never really battled against each other for a title. Indeed, both drivers have been eager to praise the other throughout the 2017 campaign.
“The respect for one another is the highest I have felt from another driver, especially of his calibre,” Hamilton said ahead of the Bahrain GP in April.
But could their Baku blow-up ignite a fierce rivalry?
The Formula 1 Gossip Column
“I think it’s going to kick it off,” admitted Johnny Herbert. “Is it a surprise? That’s drivers battling it out for the world championship.”
“I think there’s been a big misunderstanding and they should all go and say sorry, apologise and move on,” joked Hill. “But that’s not going to happen.
“Only a few races ago Lewis was saying it’s great racing against a great driver like Sebastian Vettel and they were all respectful. Now it’s gone slightly pear-shaped.”
Comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click ‘Report’.