F1i readers back Hamilton over clash with Vettel

F1i.com readers have overwhelmingly backed Lewis Hamilton when it comes to the question of who is to blame for Sunday’s controversial incident.

Sebastian Vettel claimed that Hamilton had brake-tested him behind the safety car mid-way through the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Furious, Vettel pulled alongside his rival and appeared to drive into him deliberately.

The incident was investigated by race stewards. Telemetry supported Hamilton’s contention that he had not intentionally brake-tested Vettel, but the Ferrari driver was handed a ten-second stop-go penalty.

According to our poll, F1i.com fans strongly agree with the stewards that Hamilton was not to blame. 68 per cent of people responding to the poll said that they felt Hamilton had no share of responsibility for what happened.

We also asked our readers what they thought about the penalty handed out to Vettel. Despite the stop-and-go, Vettel still ended up ahead of Hamilton after the Mercedes suffered a loose headrest and was also forced to make an extra pit stop.

Only 35 per cent of people responding to the poll felt that the penalty had been correct. The rest – 65 per cent – said that it wasn’t harsh enough.

Auto Motor und Sport quoted a Baku race steward as saying they “almost” decided to disqualify Vettel during the race.

  • Ecclestone: ‘Hamilton tried to put Vettel in trouble’

1996 world champion Damon Hill certainly wasn’t impressed with Vettel’s actions. “If you were to do that on a public road you would get arrested,” he told The Times newspaper.

“Lewis will hit him one day,” agreed Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda. “Not with the car but with the fist.”

As well as the stop-and-go, Vettel also received three penalty points on his superlicence. He now has nine points in total over a 12-month period – three more points in Austria could hand him a one-race ban.

But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said that the incident was behind them and that there shouldn’t be any further action taken.

“He got his penalty already so it’s over,” he said.

“I think they should talk with each other once tempers have cooled,” Wolff added. “In a few days time Seb will realise that his action was not great.”

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