F1 Azerbaijan GP: Vettel had 'a tourettes moment' hitting Hamilton - Horner

Cameron Gross
June 26, 2017

As Daniel Ricciardo celebrated winning a hectic Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday, title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel clashed in a bitter incident that could shape the rest of an intriguing Formula One season.

It came moments after Vettel shunted the rear of the Mercedes at the exit of Turn 15, claiming his F1 title rival had brake tested him - although FIA data showed there was no proof of that.

The FIA has cleared Lewis Hamilton of any wrongdoing during his second race restart after Sebastian Vettel accused the Mercedes driver of "brake testing" him, which resulted in Vettel running into the back of the Briton's auto.

Vettel accused Hamilton of "brake-testing" him when their cars were running behind the Safety Car during Sunday's chaotic and controversial Grand Prix before arguing his penalty was "harsh".

"I'll talk with him. I don't need to say anything else", Hamilton told Sky Sports. Vettel was very foolish and the stewards agree and they gave him that 10-second penalty.

"I respect Seb a lot for his grit and his love for the sport, which turns into a lot of passion and sometimes aggression". 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. Hamilton was not reprimanded or punished. I'll do that just with him and clear it and move on.

"For him to pretty much get away with driving into another driver is a disgrace", said Hamilton. "I think he disgraced himself today", said the Briton.

"I hope as we are gaining in competitiveness that we can - I think we are too far out of contention to compete for the championship - but I think we're gaining performance and speed to be able to compete for race wins, as we get more performance on the auto". Imagine all the kids watching Formula 1 today and seeing that kind of behaviour from a four-time world champion. I think it's an enormous bit of rivalry between the two of them for the rest of the season.

Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene added: "With what happened between Bottas and Kimi and then Sebastian, I would say 'Is this formula one or the Coliseum?'"

"Nothing happened, did it?"

"You look at past year and some of the things he's come and said on the radio. He's done something similar in China at the restart a couple of years ago so it's not the way to do it, I think".

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When the race finally did start again - on lap 20 - Vettel just about held off the Williams cars of Felipe Massa and Stroll.

"I don't have a problem with him", insisted Vettel. "There is then a chain reaction", he said. In the end, we are racing with men. "If we get a penalty, we should both get a penalty". We are both grown-up men.

"We're here to race". The championship battle is still respectful. "It's the same here".

But the stewards took Hamilton's side, hitting Vettel with a stop-and-go penalty and latterly three points on his licence.

Despite Ricciardo's win, the race will be remembered for the angry confrontation between Vettel and Hamilton.

In addition to his stop/go penalty, Vettel was also given three penalty points for the incident, taking his total to nine for the past 12 months.

If he reaches 10, he faces a possible further sanction.

Shortly before that, Hamilton and Vettel were involved in an incident that threatens to sour their good relations.

"They are warriors. They are at war at that moment".

"At a certain stage, the best ones that compete for the world championship in that phase of their careers can't be friends".

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