Lewis Hamilton vows to win drivers championship '˜the right way'
The FIA, motor sport’s governing body, is under growing pressure to sanction four-time champion Vettel after he deliberately drove into Hamilton during the chaotic race at Baku City Circuit.
The sporting federation was unavailable for comment yesterday, while Liberty Media, Formula One’s new American owners, moved to distance themselves from the explosive incident.
A Formula One spokesperson said: “The FIA is the regulatory body and their stewards have made their decision. It is not for Formula One to comment on this matter.”
Vettel was penalised with a ten-second stop-and-go penalty during the race after he banged wheels with Hamilton.
Vettel believed that the British driver had deliberately “brake-tested” him during one of three safety car periods. However, telemetry from Hamilton’s Mercedes proved that the 32-year-old Englishman had not been acting in an unusual manner prior to the collision.
Hamilton’s rivalry with Vettel this season had been noted for its cordiality, but that changed in an instant against the backdrop of Caspian Sea.
“Today was obviously a different Sebastian than we saw in those seven races, and I like to think that I remained respectful,” Hamilton said.
“I will continue to do so and I want to do the talking on the track. I want to win this championship the right way.”
Hamilton, who fell further behind Vettel in the title race after his headrest worked its way loose and forced him into an unscheduled pit stop, believes Vettel’s actions were that of a man under pressure.
Vettel now has nine points on his F1 licence and if he obtains three more in Austria a week on Sunday he will be hit with a one-race ban.
The 29-year-old German was warned about his future conduct by the FIA only last October after he told veteran race director Charlie Whiting to “f*** off” during a number of heated radio transmissions.
Asked if Vettel’s actions on Sunday proved to Hamilton that his rival was showing signs of mental weakness, the Englishman replied: “That’s been kind of obvious for some time.
“You look at last year and some of the things he’s come and said on the radio. We know how he can be.
“I honestly would never have thought that that would have happened, but we can only look at that as a positive for us.
“We’ve put a lot of pressure on Ferrari. He’s under pressure and that’s not a bad thing. That shows that often pressure can get to even some of the best of us.”
Vettel, 14 points ahead of Hamilton in the title race, claimed he will seek out his rival to clear the air before the next round of the championship. But he was insistent that he had nothing to apologise for. “I’m willing to sort it out with him, but I don’t think there’s much to sort out,” Vettel, a 45-time race winner, said.
“I’ll talk with him. Maybe I’m not clever enough but I’m not complicated.”
In the fascinating aftermath of Sunday’s race Hamilton had accused Vettel of acting in a “disgraceful” and “disrespectful” manner.
Vettel was asked whether he thought their relationship had been affected and said: “No, it’s no different.”