Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Vettel, Hamilton clash as Ricciardo wins in Baku

Vettel, Hamilton clash as Ricciardo wins in Baku

Sebastian Vettel was penalised for unsafe driving after deliberately crashing into title rival Lewis Hamilton in a wild and chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix won by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo on yesterday.

Vettel then speeds around the 32-year-old's Mercedes, drives alongside Hamilton and swerves into his vehicle before continuing with the race.

Hamilton and Vettel were running first and second ahead of a restart when Ferrari driver ran into the back of the Mercedes at the exit of Turn 15 and accused his title rival of brake testing him.

Valtteri Bottas snatched second place from Williams' Lance Stroll in the final straight, as Vettel finished fourth ahead of Hamilton to extend his championship lead to 14 points.

Vettel was in no mood to take the blame, however. The Australian secured his fifth career win, while Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas overtook Stroll's Williams vehicle in the closing meters to take second. Stroll, 18, completed the podium.

"That respect, at least on Hamilton's side, appears to have now disappeared in a matter of moments, bringing a potentially ferocious edge to this championship".

"The Azerbaijan GP was one of the most incident-packed races in years with crashes, bust-ups, three safety cars... it was even stopped with too much debris on the track from all the crashes". It evaporated in an instance.

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An angry German was protesting what he had perceived to be a brake-test from the Briton while the three-time world champion was managing the pace under the Safety Car, though the data later showed Vettel's assumption to be incorrect. "What the f*** is going on?"

Shortly before that, Hamilton and Vettel were involved in an incident that threatens to sour their good relations. But the British driver has won more races, 56 to 45.

The episode left Hamilton incensed.

Both cars were able to continue, but Vettel was handed a 10sec stop-go penalty for unsafe driving.

"Black flag!" wrote one Twitter user.

Daniel Ricciardo claimed both his, and Red Bull's, first victory of the new season, but the spotlight was firmly on Vettel last night after he banged wheels with his title rival. It was at that point Vettel was hit with his penalty which he would serve two laps later.

When asked whether he thought the stewards had been too lenient in handing Vettel a 10-second stop-go penalty as oppose to a disqualification, Horner replied: "That's down to the stewards and the FIA isn't it".

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Vettel, though, was equally irked by what he felt was a poor move by Hamilton. The ramifications, however, are likely to go long into the night.

"I didn't", Hamilton said to the accusation he had brake-tested Vettel.

"It's done and dusted, we move on".

The race for the 2017 Formula One drivers' championship just got nasty.

"For him to pretty much get away with driving into another driver is a disgrace", said Hamilton. "It's just not the way to do it I think". I'm sure he didn't do it on objective but it was not the right move. "I think he disgraced himself today", said triple champion Hamilton. I damaged my wing, I think he had a little bit of damage as well. "He's done something similar in China at the restart a couple of years ago so it's not the way to do it, I think".

"I don't have a problem with him".

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