Vettel / Hamilton War of Words Post Baku Contact Continues

Was the stop and go penalty for Vettel appropriate?

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Paul Jeffrey

RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief
Jun 5, 2009
Baku Grand Prix Hamilton vs Vettel Accident.jpg

Following the controversial contact between Hamilton and Vettel under caution in Baku it's fair to say the two aren't best friends, however with 24 hours since the race the war of words continue...

Baku would prove to be a challenging weekend for both World Championship contenders with accidents, penalties and incidents preventing either driver from maximising their own potential on Sunday afternoon, however what will probably stand out in most minds at the end of the weekend would be the controversial double contact under safety car conditions that resulted in Ferraris' Sebastian Vettel taking a 10-second-stop-and-go penalty, missing out on a podium result and big points haul over his Mercedes rival.

For anyone living under a rock this past weekend the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was one of the most dramatic and incident filled Formula One race weekends in many a year, featuring three safety car periods and a red flag stoppage, plus a number of race incidents from many of the drivers, it isn't surprising to note the two star players of 2017's championship battle would have all eyes on them at the end of the event.

With the race effectively neutralised under the second safety car of the event, Hamilton could be seen to seemingly brake test the Ferrari of Vettel at the exit of turn 15, a portion of the track where you would typically expect a car to be under acceleration even under a safety car intermission. Caught unawares by the British drivers driving, Vettel would run straight into the rear of the Mercedes and damage the intricate front wing of his Ferrari. Angry and surprised at the unexpected move from Hamilton, the German Ferrari driver could be seen waving his arms in frustration and pulling his scarlet machine alongside the #44, weaving into the side of the Mercedes and making contact with Hamilton's left front wheel.

The race stewards took exception to four time World Champion Vettel's actions and handed the driver a 10 second reprimand to be paid during the race itself, eventually dropping Seb down the order to fourth place at the flag, somewhat fortunately still ahead of Hamilton following the Englishman's own unscheduled stop to fix a damaged headrest.

Immediately following the conclusion of the race Vettel was visibly angry at the way in which Hamilton behaved under the Safety Car on lap 18, claiming that the actions of the Englishman also warranted further investigation by the stewards.

The leader dictates the pace, but we were exiting the corner, he was accelerating and then he braked so much that I couldn’t stop in time and ran into the back of him,” Vettel explained.

“I think that was just not necessary. I don’t think it was deliberate of him to brake-check me, I don’t think he’s that kind of guy. But obviously that’s what it turned out to be, that’s what it is, and I wasn’t happy with that.

“As I said I drove alongside him and raised my hand to say ‘that’s not the way to do it’, because at that moment I damaged my front wing and I think he paid the price as well by having slight damage to his car as well.

“In the end I don’t agree with the penalty that I got, because if you penalise me then you should penalise us both, because that was not the way to do it.”

Arguably the follow up bump from Vettel overshadowed the initial action of Hamilton in the Mercedes and may have saved the #44 from receiving penalisation for race direction, however Hamilton himself doesn't quite see things in the same light as his Ferrari rival, brandishing Vettel a 'bad example' to the young drivers looking to make their way into Formula One and calling the driver 'a disgrace' to Grand Prix racing.

“I didn’t [brake check him],” Hamilton told UK broadcasters Channel 4. “I control the pace, so like all the other re-starts I slowed down at the same spot. He was obviously sleeping and drove into the back of me.

“But that wasn’t the issue for me. Driving alongside and driving deliberately into a driver and getting away scot-free, pretty much – he still came away with fourth – I think it’s a disgrace. I think he disgraced himself today, to be honest.

“I think driving dangerously which in any way could put another driver at risk, I mean luckily we were going slow, if we were going faster, it could’ve been a lot worse. Imagine all the young kids that are watching Formula One today and seeing that kind of behaviour from a four-time world champion. I think that says it all.”

Clearly Hamilton is taking the high ground from the incident and maintains he did not deliberately brake test the car behind, a fact supported by an FIA investigation that concluded the Englishman did no wrong during the Safety Car incident. Hamilton remains both perplexed and angry at the actions of Vettel and subsequent contact between the two cars.

“There was no reason to pull up alongside the leader at that point and it couldn’t be clearer. It is clear as the blue skies. We are world champions, we are the best drivers in the world.”

“Maybe when you are going down the road in your road car and you do this [gesture at another driver] you might swerve to the right. But we don’t do that. We’ve been racing for years, we just don’t do that,” insisted Hamilton.​

It is thought that Vettel will look to speak with Hamilton in private before the next Grand Prix at Spielberg to 'clear the air' with his championship rival and pour cold water on a situation that could lead friction between the long time racing rivals.

With Ferrari and Vettel attempting to build some reconciliatory bridges with Hamilton for the remainder of the season it would be left to Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman Niki Lauda to be his diplomatic self and have the final say on the situation:

“He freaked out in himself. “When you hit somebody up the arse it is your fault. No question. But then to drive next to him and hit him on purpose, I have never seen anything like this.’

“To do that I don’t understand. Vettel is a decent guy normally. This I don’t understand. He is crazy. Lewis will hit him one day. Not with the car but with his fist.”


Baku Grand Prix Hamilton vs Vettel Accident 2.jpg

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Do you think Vettel was out of order in Baku, or should the blame lay at Hamilton's door for brake testing the Ferrari driver.
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Mar 21, 2013
I'm gonna paste a paragraph I have wrote in another thread that summarises my thoughts on the matter.

This is a very interesting situation... I don't feel Vettel may have intentionally done it. He might have misjudged the distance between the cars. Don't forget they are wider this year. But you still can't see past the fact he went out of his way to pull alongside Hamilton to gesticulate. On one hand i can't see Vettel being stupid enough to put his car in jeopardy by causing contact with another, possibly putting him out the race. And then on the other hand I don't see why he had to react the way he did with the Media. Its the same with football. A player will get sent off/make a bad challenge and the player and their manager will defend themselves after the match to the public and media. However the next week or following a FA investigation they will more or less change their mind, apologise for their actions and move on. This is what Vettel needs to. He should go away cool off and come Austria apologise publicly for his actions and to Hamilton. Whether Hamilton wants to be the bigger man and accept the apology is up to him.

Regarding the media influence I rank the words from a Racing driver turned pundit more highly than a journalist. Not to say the journalist can't be right, but I feel the experience from being in situations like that themselves provides a better insight. That's why people like Martin Brundle, Allan McNish and Damon Hill are pivotal to F1 broadcasting by giving their unbiased and educated opinions. People like Tom Clarkson, Andrew Benson and David Croft have been shown to show some form of Bias in the past and that's why I take most of their articles/opinions with a grain of salt.

And Finally the whole argument for Vettel finishing ahead of Hamilton and it not being justice is ridiculous. Vettel was given a 10 second time penalty for dangerous driving. He came in and he served it. Now if the Mercedes mechanics had done their job and put the headrest in properly then we would not have the injustice debate. Hamilton would have won and Vettel finished 4th/5th. So it was more Mercedes' own doing that cost Lewis finishing above Seb.

With Silverstone being next after Austria. I feel bad for Vettel. He will receive a reception similar to Rosberg from the uneducated British fans that jumped on the bandwagon in the past 3 years.
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Boby Kim

Aug 28, 2010
Vettel needs to train more on his reflexes and for his agression i would recommend valium but thats will kill the reflexes...wait a minute:O_o:
Vettel should have received a black flag for his behaviour. Its time the whole F1 field(!) gets some discipline lessons. They are turning into those spoiled brats:rolleyes:
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Apr 1, 2011
I honestly can't say I've ever seen a driver simply deny the existence of an incident that he created. This is like some Trump-esque amounts of stupidity. I like Vettel, but come on man, that was disgraceful.

Intentionally hitting a driver and potentially using your car as a weapon is something that definitely should have resulted in more than a 10s Stop/Go.


Oct 3, 2010
The Lewis haters are probably going to come out of the woodwork as usual, and the article is kind of leading. The final question asks if Lewis should be blamed for "brake testing" Vettel when there's no evidence he did so and there is evidence that he didn't do so given the FIA report (enter something about how they can't be trusted, I know, I know)

Anyhow, that part of the situation has only minor relevance anyway. Vettel got the penalty for pulling alongside Hamilton and turning into him. I don't see how anyone can think that penalty wasn't deserved. Honestly, if the situation had just ended with Vettel rear-ending Hamilton and then complaining on the radio, I doubt a penalty would've been given at all - at worst maybe 5 seconds added at the end.


Nov 10, 2012
100% agree with the Vettel haters and the completely biased Sky corporate media (FOM north). Vettel needs to be given the boot. He's done nothing for the sport and clearly trusts other drivers to restart and not use kinetic braking energy and aero drag as an excuse to shout "see...I didn't brake" because we all know *sie German* is responsible. F1 should be only Hamilton and Bottas running around catering to the completely unbiased opinion of Mr. Brundle, who again called for Kimi's retirement (1093 times and counting). After all, the future of F1 is Lance, Pascal, Max, and Palmer. Let the dead weight go...right over the Atlantic.

And Chris: I quote Trump (who won *again* today): "You are going to say, please Mr, Trump, no more winning. I'm sick of winning, I can't take it anymore." In this case, IndyCar is winning. Welcome Mr. Vettel, Mr. Raikkonen and Mr. Alonso. Also, tell that jackass President of yours to quit shipping middle eastern refugees all over the world after enslaving them on a deserted island. (off topic)


Being 2nd is to be the 1st of the ones who lose.
Feb 9, 2015
Pretty sure now that if Seb was given that McLaren he would ram it into marshals out of frustration. Never really liked Hamilton.. but did warm up to Seb ever since he moved to Ferrari but yesterday's incident stamped the fact that he is still a cranky whiny twat.
Aug 21, 2013
& Mr Ham, always the same dirty moves he usually do, should have a penalty
As proved Ham did nothing wrong so why warrant a penalty??,trouble with Vettel is he thinks its his god given right for every1 to get out of his way.He lost it big time with bad driving or ranting over the air-waves in previous races..Be good to see what Ferrari do,cant be good for there image..


May 12, 2014
Get a grip with this PC BS.
Old F1 was glorious, no bunny huggers in sight..Senna crashing the sh!t out of Prost, Piquet punching some back marker with his helmet on in Germany after crashing into each other etc, I guess they were disgraceful too, but so much more entertaining.

Sky and those painfully annoying reporters can make a mountain out of a grain of sand.
I would pay double to have croft on his own channel so I can have him on mute for the entire race.

Nick Milton

Apr 28, 2014
Vettel clearly retaliated to Hamilton wrongly, anger got the better of him, I did look like Hamilton came of all pedals, hence looking like a brake check, but the safety car was way ahead,

I get frustrated with the biased commentary, enough said there.

I'm a Hamilton hater, not because of anything other than his attitude, I feel he has no respect unless winning, he disrespect people interviewing him, when Things not going his way, add he's a bad loser, I'll not change, I can't stand the bloke. But that is good entertainment.

Vettel has a great sense of humour( unusual in his race) impeccable manners, .but a hot head. Which is great entertainment.

So both stay same, because for me, F1 is entertainment. ( and I hate predictive text)
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Nick Milton

Apr 28, 2014
Get a grip with this PC BS.
Old F1 was glorious, no bunny huggers in sight..Senna crashing the sh!t out of Prost, Piquet punching some back marker with his helmet on in Germany after crashing into each other etc, I guess they were disgraceful too, but so much more entertaining.

Sky and those painfully annoying reporters can make a mountain out of a grain of sand.
I would pay double to have croft on his own channel so I can have him on mute for the entire race.
The piquet punch was gold, that's what Vettel should have and would have done in the good ole days, decking Hamilton, now I'm excited.can I do it, pleeeeeeese.

PC do gooders are the worst problem society has. Gone way too far.


Mar 4, 2015
Vettel's pathetic, he did a similar move on Webber 2010. Remember Mexico last year, guys a jerk.
Jun 13, 2011
Who cares. Probably Hamilton was just having a small server lag which warped him and Vettel tried to check if the game was back in sync and Lewis car was a collidable object. . . . .

There was so much more race-watching experience to have with the other motorsport events over the weekend like the RD 24h LeMans, MotoGP, IndyCar, WTCC. Who cares about F1, the pinnacle of boredom and exaggerated self esteem.

Acke Rosa

May 16, 2014
If you're the only driver in recent F1 history to be rammed on purpose not only once but now twice maybe its time to take a look in the mirror yourself?

Yes Vettel shouldn't have taken the bait but Ham was baiting him. In my life and on the road I have more sympathy and association for being the one genuinely loosing their temper with someone playing games in the car ahead of you than being the a**hole game player ahead.

Backing Rosberg up, running with illegal tire pressures, tweeting telemetry and all your other dirty games are a worse example for the kids. Kids need to learn to be genuine and that if you screw with someone in real life and they snap you can get whats coming to you.

Lauda awesome? God to think I once respected his opinion back in the day. He has become the biggest hamilton a** licker on the planet constantly leaping to his defence to justify the 20 mil they spend on the drama queen. I thought we were all upset about the children now you think its awesome Lauda is talking about violence? Make up your minds.


Mar 21, 2013
Who cares. Probably Hamilton was just having a small server lag which warped him and Vettel tried to check if the game was back in sync and Lewis car was a collidable object. . . . .
That Aussie ping helping Ricciardo bungee lag away from the field... Typical upsidedowners :)


Oct 14, 2014
Just a correction, The next Grand Prix is in Austria :)

I'm gonna paste a paragraph I have wrote in another thread that summarises my thoughts on the matter.

This is a very interesting situation... I don't feel Vettel may have intentionally done it. He might have misjudged the distance between the cars.
I understand where you are coming from, but cmon, the force he hits Hamilton was enough to bounce his car off the ground, there's no way a 4time world champion can make THAT big of an error of placement, first off there the angle of steering, but also how fast the steering angle was applied, there's no way it wasn't intentional.

The fact he repeatedly ignored to answer or even acknowledge that this side contact even happened tells everything. A cowards actions and a cowards words.

In terms of the penalty, if he can't even admit he did it, and that it was wrong, he most definitely should be getting banned for a race or two. What kind of message does it send when the peak of motorsport allows intentional wrecking, when if you did what Vettel did at a local kart track they'd throw you out quicker than you can say "but he brake tested me" with a foot up your ass for good measure.
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Terry Rock

Oct 24, 2009
Sebastian needs to get control of his temper.
This is Formula One....not a demolition derby.
The stewards should have handed him a minimum 20 second penalty for that move.
It was as reckless as Maldonado's move a few years back.
Failure to maintain the gap to the car ahead is not the responsibility of the leading driver.
This 'bunching' happens on every single restart in F1...and has for quite some time.
Maybe he was distracted in the cockpit, either way this is not what I expect from a driver of his caliber.
Sergio didn't run into Seb Vettel.
He was obviously paying attention to what was going on ahead.
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Jun 16, 2009
Vettel is such a crybaby. He kept doing all kinds of bullshit to Mark Webber back in the day too. Constantly blaming others without looking in the mirror.

.. but he is undoubtedly a very talented driver.. he's just so immature when it comes to admitting being at fault.