Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel said that championship rival Lewis Hamilton should also have received a penalty for the part he played in the incident behind the safety car. Sebastian was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty for “potentially dangerous” driving and was deemed to have purposefully steered into Hamilton’s car, in a move that is certain to increase the ferocity and tension in the championship battle.
The incident left Hamilton furious, with the Mercedes driver calling for a more severe penalty for Vettel, especially as Ferrari’s German driver managed to finish ahead of him in Baku and as a result increased his championship lead marginally to 14 points.
The incident happened after the second safety car period of what was a crazy race in which there were several safety cars and a red flag for debris. Vettel and Hamilton ended up fourth and fifth respectively after the penalty for Vettel and a stop to fix faulty head rest for Hamilton put them way down the order and had to fight back through the field in the latter stages of the race.
But Vettel seemed to think that Hamilton should have penalised for brake testing him, and seemed to think that his penalty was for running into the back of him and not the swipe he seemed to take at the Brit’s car after running into the back of his, even seemingly refusing to acknowledge he collided with Hamilton’s car a second time: “I think it was quite obvious. I don’t run in the back of him on purpose, I damaged my wing, he had a little damage as well, nothing that would have impacted on the race. it’s just not the way to do it, he’s done it a couple of times, after his [first] restart was really good he surprised me and jumped me, so I don’t think it was necessary. The problem is me behind getting ready and all the other cars, but the problem is there’s then a chain reaction and he’s done something similar a couple of years ago in China at the restart, it’s not the way to do it.” – Sebastian Vettel explained at the end of the Azerbaijan GP, as reported by the Italian media.
When asked what he thought the penalty was for, the German driver added: “I guess it was the running in the back of him but same for him with the brake checking, We’re all grown-ups, we’re men, emotions running high in the car, but we want to race wheel-to-wheel but not when it’s the restart. As you saw afterwards he did very well on the restart, I had nothing to answer, he outsmarted me then but before it was just not necessary.”