Based on the replays, it seems fairly obvious that Sebastian Vettel intentionally hit Lewis Hamilton during a safety car period in Sunday’s Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix. But Mercedes-AMG Petronas team principal Toto Wolff wants to wait until he talks to Vettel about the incident before he makes any judgement regarding the incident.
Despite the stewards issuing the Scuderia Ferrari driver a 10-second stop-and-go penalty and three points on his FIA Super License for the incident,Wolff told Motorsport.com that he “almost can’t imagine” the German hit Hamilton intentionally.
“I almost can’t imagine that he did it on purpose in shunting into him,” Wolff said. “So I’d like to speak to him personally and hear what he says about the incident rather than making a judgement without properly having heard his statement.”
Hamilton and Vettel were running P1 and P2, respectively, behind the safety car on Lap 19 when the Brit decelerated coming out of a corner, causing Vettel to hit the back of his car. Vettel told Ferrari over the radio that the two-time world champion brake-tested him, then pulled alongside the Mercedes and swerved right to collide with Hamilton.
After the race, a somewhat calmer Vettel reportedly admitted that Hamilton likely wasn’t trying to make him damage his Ferrari, as that would compromise the Mercedes’ driver’s race too. That seemingly is true, with Wolff claiming the team’s telemetry data shows that Hamilton didn’t touch the brake, but rather backed out of the throttle coming off Turn 15.
Although the Vettel said he wants to sort out the incident with Hamilton, he might not get to talk to anybody in the Mercedes camp besides Wolff.
“Firstly, he doesn’t have my number,” Hamilton told Motorsport.com. “For me I’m just going to do my talking on the track, that’s most important for me.”
We’re frankly not sure what more Vettel wants to say, as there doesn’t seem to be much left to discuss regarding the coming together. He was upset, made an impulsive decision and suffered the consequences; that’s what happens in professional sports.
Thumbnail photo via Mercedes-AMG Petronas
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