Sport

Hamilton invites Vettel to clash 'face-to-face' out of their cars

Hamilton invites Vettel to clash 'face-to-face' out of their cars

Vettel was handed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty by the Azerbaijan GP race stewards after his auto hit Hamilton's twice behind the Safety vehicle - once under braking and then again when Vettel first drew alongside Hamilton to gesticulate at his title rival before swiping into the Mercedes.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the "gloves are off" between Hamilton and Vettel.

Vettel's sanction saw him drop from second to ninth but he recovered to extend his championship lead over Hamilton to 14 points.

Vettel ran into the rear of the Mercedes under the Safety Car just before a race restart, and then pulled alongside Hamilton to remonstrate having believed the race leader had brake tested him. Battle lines The battle lines were drawn the moment Vettel went into the back of Hamilton's Mercedes during the second of three safety auto periods, the German shaking his fists and pulling alongside to bang wheels in a gesture that looked a lot like "road rage".

Vettel was penalised by the race stewards.

This year's Formula One championship came alive in Azerbaijan after Sebastian Vettel was accused of deliberately ramming into title rival Lewis Hamilton.




Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo won the race. If everything goes wrong he's still thinking somewhere in his brain: "'It's not my fault.' I think after three days he realizes and hopefully then he will be normal again". Driving alongside and deliberately driving into another driver and getting away freely, pretty much as he finished fourth - that is a disgrace.

He eventually finished 4th, one place ahead of Hamilton whose race was harmed by a subsequent unrelated vehicle problem.

"He didn't force Hamilton off the track at high speed as we've seen some champions do, it was more of a slap at walking pace". The frustrated and angry man of 2016, who raged at rivals and had to apologise to race director Charlie Whiting in Mexico last November after an expletive-laden radio rant, was back. I really hope kids don't see that in GP2 and GP3 and think that's the right way, you know? If I'm struggling, people at the back struggling even more, so I don't think it was necessary.

"I have no doubt he brake-checked me", Vettel said. "I didn't run into the back of him on objective. I don't need to say anything else", Hamilton told Sky Sports. "I don't have a problem with him", he said. At a certain stage, the best ones that compete for the world championship in that phase of their careers can't be friends.

Telemetry from Hamilton's Mercedes proved that the 32-year-old Englishman had not been acting in an unusual manner prior to the collision, and asked if he felt his Ferrari rival was demonstrating mental weakness, he said: 'That's been kind of obvious for some time.

"They are warriors! In the race you are at war!"