British Formula One great Sir Jackie Stewart has defended Sebastian Vettel over his actions with title rival Lewis Hamilton at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday. The former world champion conceded that Scuderia Ferrari‘s German driver was guilty of “inappropriate behaviour” due to the fact that he reacted and deliberately ram his SF70H car into Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes halfway through the race, which took place on the Baku City Circuit, in the capital of Azerbaijan.
However, Sir Jackie Stewart backed Sebastian Vettel’s assertion that he had been provoked by Hamilton’s decision to suddenly back off the safety car, which led to an initial accidental collision that damaged the German’s front wing: “What created the incident is what occurred when Lewis slowed down so quickly in a very unlikely place. You have got to take that into account. That was a shock to Sebastian, and that is why he came alongside Lewis to ask ‘what the hell are you doing?’ What Vettel then did was to unquestionably collide with Hamilton. There is no room for that, no excuse for that and it is wrong. It is inappropriate behaviour. It would be very simple to put the complete blame on one man, but what initiated the bad behaviour was what happened before.” – the three-time Formula One World Drivers’ Champions (in 1969, 1971 and 1973) admitted, as reportd by the British media on Monday.
“It was totally unexpected. I am not trying to hook Lewis into this the wrong way, but that was the whole crux of what happened. Lewis put his brakes on so hard that Vettel hit him. I am not blaming Lewis for the accident but I have to say I have never seen anyone come off the throttle so quickly. You either do it to surprise them, but what happened was the surprise was too severe.” – Sir Jackie Stewart concluded, as reported by the Press Association Sport.