Sebastian Vettel has hit back at suggestions the clashes between Ferrari and Mercedes drivers in recent races have been deliberate, saying it is “unnecessary to even go there” following teammate Kimi Raikkonen’s collision with Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
Raikkonen hit Hamilton at Turn 3 on the opening lap at Silverstone, sending the Mercedes driver to the back of the field. Raikkonen was hit with a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision, but was able to continue without any major damage to his car.
While Hamilton was able to benefit from two late Safety Car periods to finish the race second, he still lost ground on championship rival Vettel, who claimed his second British Grand Prix victory to pull out an eight-point lead at the top of the drivers’ standings
Hamilton spoke of Ferrari’s “interesting tactics” on the podium after the race before criticising the penalties given to both Raikkonen and Vettel in recent races, the latter having collided with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas at the French Grand Prix two weeks ago. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also questioned whether Raikkonen’s actions were “deliberate or incompetence” after the race.
Asked to respond to Hamilton’s comments, Vettel was quick to dismiss the suggestion that Ferrari’s moves were deliberate.
“Things can happen, but I think it’s quite silly to think that anything that happened was deliberate,” Vettel said – “I would struggle to be that precise in order to take someone out. In France I lost my wing so I screwed my own race. I think it’s easy to attack and have a great move, and easy to have an incident.
“I only saw it briefly, and I don’t think there was any intention.
“I find it a bit unecessary to even go there.”