If you didn’t watch the Azerbaijan Grand Prix over the weekend you missed out on some on-track drama that left two F1 champs wanting to come to blows with each other.
It all started early in the race on lap 18. The grid was behind the safety car due to an incident and Lewis Hamilton was in the lead with Sebastian Vettel behind him.
Per F1 rules, during safety car laps the lead car (Lewis in this case) controls the pace of the rest of the field behind so it is up to all the other cars to pay attention to what the car ahead of them is doing.
Sebastian Vettel claimed that Lewis suddenly and unexpectedly hit the brakes when he didn’t need to, causing the German to run into the back of Hamilton.
Feeling that he had been purposefully brake-checked, Vettel drove up along side Hamilton and intentionally knocked into Hamilton while gesturing at him.
I say “gesturing” because Vettel didn’t actually flip him the bird or anything.
The race stewards handed down a 10 second penalty to Vettel but Lewis didn’t think that punishment was nearly enough since Vettel finished the race ahead of him in 4th while Lewis finished 5th.
Hamilton’s race pretty much fell apart when he was forced to pit from the lead after it was discovered he had a loose head-restraint.
It’s not clear if the head-restraint issue was a result of his contact with Vettel but I’m sure its being looked into by now.
After the race the FIA continued to investigate the incident and they found that Lewis Hamilton did not brake check Vettel.
Vettel is now on thin ice with the FIA due to his recent rash of incidents which all seem to involve Vettel’s temper.
The 4-time champion needs to make sure he drives clean in the next race or he could face a race ban from the FIA.
After the race Vettel stated that “F1 is for Grown-Ups” and stood by the notion that Hamilton brake-checked him.
During a post race interview Hamilton said that Vettel “disgraced himself” with his behavior and then in a separate interview took it one step further.
“If he want’s to prove he is a man he should do it out of the car, face to face.” DING DING DING!! FIGHT!
In all seriousness though I’m sure it probably won’t come to physical blows between the two champs but you can bet there will be some aggressive driving between them from here on out.
For several videos covering the dust up, just scroll below.
Incident between Hamilton and Vettel behind safety car:
Post race interviews:
Hamilton calling out Vettel (Audio):