Vettel: I did nothing wrong in Hamilton incident

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel has denied making any wrong manoeuvres in his coming together with Lewis Hamilton under Safety Car conditions during this afternoon's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which has seen the German pick up three penalty points on his FIA Super Licence.

In addition to the points, Vettel received a ten-second stop-go penalty for his transgression, which many critics believe was very lenient, and saw him rejoin the race ahead of Hamilton after the Brit had to make an unscheduled pit stop.

Television pictures show Hamilton slowing excessively to back the field up before the restart to allow Bernd Maylander to return the Safety Car to the pit lane, but in doing so caught Vettel unawares, with the German nudging him from behind.

Vettel accused Hamilton of brake-checking him. | Photo: Getty Images/Mark Thompson
Vettel accused Hamilton of brake-checking him. | Photo: Getty Images/Mark Thompson

Vettel then pulled alongside the Mercedes driver before raising his hand and swerving into his sidepod.

Despite the concrete evidence, Vettel refused to acknowledge the contact when speaking to the press after the race.

Vettel unhappy with Hamilton conduct

"Nothing happened, did it?" he told Sky Sports.

"He brake-checked me as well. I'm sure he didn't do it on purpose but for sure, it wasn't the right move."

When asked if there was contact between the two, the German responded: "Yeah. I ran into the back of him."

When talking to American broadcasters NBCSN, Vettel was equally evasive.

"I drove alongside to raise my hand. I didn't give him the finger, I just wanted to tell him, because I can't literally talk to him - that was all right."

Hamilton called the move "a disgrace" and a bad example to young racers, but was keen to reiterate that he wanted to move on from a weekend that looked very promising.

"I'm just looking forward to getting home. We still got some points and that's the key. I don't know what to say - there's nothing I can really say. It's done and dusted."

"Potentially dangerous"

The stewards' report cited that Vettel had breached Article 27.4 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, deciding that the manoeuvre was "potentially dangerous" after examining video evidence.

The penalty cost Vettel all chance of race victory after he assumed the lead when Hamilton was forced to pit in the interests of safety, due to a loose headrest. Vettel, however, managed to pass Hamilton in the process of taking the penalty and stayed ahead of his main championship rival, taking a fourth-placed finish, extending his World Championship lead by two points.

Three penalty points for Vettel takes him to nine overall in the last 12 months, meaning that he has to avoid controversy in the Austrian Grand Prix in a fortnight's time - if he picks up another three, he will be barred from next month's British Grand Prix - thus majorly impacting the battle for the title.

Daniel Ricciardo recovered from a nightmarish Qualifying to win the race, ahead of Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas and rookie Lance Stroll.