Former Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve has defended Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel after his angry swerve at Lewis Hamilton in the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, adding that the incident just goes to prove that Formula 1 drivers have emotions.
The Canadian auto racing driver was involved in a notorious collision with Michael Schumacher in the 1997 European Grand Prix, which was held on 26 October at the Circuito Permanente de Jerez, Spain and which eventually led to the Scuderia Ferrari driver being excluded from that year’s Formula One standings. However, Jacques Villeneuve explained that Sebastian’s actions were much less serious:
“It was very different. They’re going 10mph, who cares? Of course it was ugly, but ultimately Lewis brake-tested him. I am a driver, I have been there. Whenever a driver did that to me, then I would do whatever Seb did. In the end he got a penalty, the biggest he could get I guess according to the new rules.” – the former CART Championship and Indianapolis 500 winner said, as reported by Autosport on Tuesday.
Telemetry data used for the FIA’s investigation seemed to imply the fact that Hamilton did not brake-test the German driver, while Jacques Villeneuve indicated to the possibility of Sebastian Vettel hitting Lewis Hamilton by mistake while gesticulating in anger: “I don’t think he was trying to hit him. He had one hand on the wheel and was looking at him and pointing the finger. You don’t hit with your wheels turned like that, you will break your own car, and with one hand – if you’re going to hit someone, you have two hands on the wheel! In a way I am happy to see that drivers have emotions. It’s good, it’s fun. We have the two guys fighting for the championship, getting angry with each other, and ultimately no damage was done. What’s the big issue? It’s great TV, it’s good to see that they’re on it. Much nicer than Lewis asking [Valtteri] Bottas to slow Vettel down. That was embarrassing.” – the Canadian concluded.