Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Baku City Circuit , 2017

Vettel issues formal apology for Baku clash with Hamilton

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel has apologised for his collision with Lewis Hamilton in a statement issued on his website.

The Ferrari driver also said he intends to apologise to Hamilton directly for the incident.

“Concerning the incidents of Baku I’d like to explain myself,” Vettel wrote.

“During the re-start lap, I got surprised by Lewis and ran into the back of his car. With hindsight, I don’t believe he had any bad intentions.”

“In the heat of the action I then overreacted, and therefore I want to apologise to Lewis directly, as well as to all the people who were watching the race. I realise that I was not setting a good example.”

“I had no intention at anytime to put Lewis in danger, but I understand that I caused a dangerous situation.”

Vettel met with FIA president Jean Todt today in Paris. The sport’s governing body later confirmed he will receive no further sanction for the incident.

“I would like to apologise to the FIA,” Vettel added. I accept and respect the decisions that were taken at today’s meeting in Paris, as well as the penalty imposed by the stewards in Baku.”

“I love this sport and I am determined to represent it in a way that can be an example for future generations.”

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 153 comments on “Vettel issues formal apology for Baku clash with Hamilton”

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      3rd July 2017, 19:34

      Good enough for me. Now, don’t do it again.

      1. Happy Birthday!

    2. He’s a very naughty boy !

    3. Lol. FIA, all this noise for an apology?
      Farce.

      1. Using one’s vehicle as a deadly weapon against another driver surely ought to have been punished and heavily sanctioned by the FIA.
        A forced apology surely is not good enough!

        1. I don’t approve what Vettel did either.
          But “as a deadly weapon”? Really? At 20 mph or so?
          It was bad because it was intentional. Not because it was really dangerous. Let’s not go overboard please.

          1. While I do not think Vettel intended to be dangerous or that the resulting incident ended up causing danger and certainly do not agree that he was using the car as a deadly weapon, I do not accept that the incident was not a dangerous thing to do. Hamilton was getting ready to sprint off and as such vettel was not to know that as he steered into hamilton that hamilton would not have flawed the car which could have potentially had a very bad outcome if hamiltons rear wheel went over vettels front wheel. The other issue could have been if vettels bump had broken something on either car and then at the subsequent restart it failed and lead to a car crashing at high speed.

            Now I understand things fail on F1 cars naturally, but for it to be caused by a purposeful and unnecessary impact would be very bad indeed.

            Personally I think Vettel should have been punished further, however the decision is made and he is at least a little humiliated which may hopefully lead to him calm down and behave better.

        2. deadly weapon

          haha worst COTD :D

        3. Deadly weapon at 50km/h? That is a LOT of stretch…

    4. Would have been a lot less painful if the silly sod had ‘fessed up after the race. He could have even gained some credibility. Good punishment, better than a points deduction.

      1. I doubt this was painful to him at all. He’s probably enjoying putting out this apology because it’s basically something that saves him face. And it’s nice to do stuff that people like us for.
        But maybe I’m projecting :P
        What I mean is saying “I’m sorry” is the best thing ever. It’s free, it’s just words, and it has a bunch of good things attached to it. The reason why he didn’t say it sooner was probably the team trying to control the situation as much as possible, as they should, really.

    5. NOW, we can move on.

    6. For me the interesting thing here is Vettel does not indicate anywhere he has accepted that Hamilton did not brake-test him.

      I suspect he might get a few questions about that…

      1. With hindsight, I don’t believe he had any bad intentions.

        Doesn’t that rule out the intention of brake-testing him? He might still argue that he slowed down (too much).

        1. @david-br I’m sure that’s how he wants it to be interpreted, but saying someone didn’t intend to do anything wrong is not the something as saying someone didn’t do anything wrong.

          1. I must agree @keithcollantine. This is quite a mealy mouthed apology. I suspect he still doesn’t think he did anything wrong, and still believes Hamilton brake tested him, but is saying sorry because he was told to do so.

            That said, at least he has apologised. It’s the absolute bare minimum of what he should have done.

            I still think his behaviour won’t improve, though. The FIA said last time “if you do it again, we’ll punish you”. This time, same thing. They come out as toothless, and he’ll have another tantrum at another race, expecting just another forced apology.

          2. No I agree Keith, it’s still trying to exonerate himself and subtly blame Hamilton for slowing down. But a brake-test would be a bad intention, surely, so he can only accuse Hamilton of slowing down more than he expected – but that was his prerogative as leader. So basically grumbling acceptance. Unless he wants to retract the apology.

          3. @keithcollantine to be fair saying that there wasn’t an intent to do wrong is IMO admitting that there was no brake testing. It didn’t really say that HAM was blameless though, yeah.
            @david-br

            Unless he wants to retract the apology.

            Which……wouldn’t be unprecedented.

          4. This time I have to disagree @keithcollantine. Brake checking is by definition intentional. So I read this as clearly saying Hamilton did not ‘brake check’ him. You cannot brake check anyone by accident.

          5. Yeah Keith. Make sure you dig where there’s no need. Your beloved Lewis is notorious for letting off quickly in he worse areas JUST enough to not get his wrists slapped. No way Vettel should acknowledge what he knows full well Lewis was doing. All this one-sided bias is laughable

        2. @Keith Collantine: On the BBC Vettel said: “”Concerning the incidents of Baku I’d like to explain myself: During the re-start lap, I got surprised by Lewis and ran into the back of his car.”

          So it does look like he has backed down from the brake testing (or was told to).

          1. Just seen it is in this article – too early in the morning!

            But think that is as close as we will get to him from laying any blame on brake testing

      2. I was about to write the same thing.

      3. Thomas Lyster
        3rd July 2017, 19:53

        I was watching the lions match on Saturday and the referee Jerome graces took no nonsense and sent off a kiwi for a dangerous hit in order to protect the players head from serious injury. Why can’t f1 set an example like that by banning vettel for one race

        1. Because doing so to Senna or MSC was also hard, I guess? :p

      4. Vettel acted in a very bad way and he is definetely guilty. He showed bad example for future generations. But he is no gentleman and this is not gentlemen’s sport. He thought Hamilton brake tested him and he wanted to show he is no pushover. But he misjudged the situation. If Hamilton brake tested him, I’d probably justified him, knowing how adrenaline flows thruogh their veins in this sport. I wonder, what other greats would’ve done in such situation, when another driver brake tests them. Senna? Schumacher? They would not have left it without their own ‘punishment’. Don’t get me wrong – Hamilton was totally faultless and Vettel did very bad. Just saying, that these men are mega competetive.

        1. I am no Hamilton fan, but I don’t see Hamilton doing this in anger.

          Senna also not, was too calculated. He did things premeditated.

          Shumi, he did it 😀

          1. @maxv

            He did things premeditated.

            For some reason I find that rather funnily true

      5. Maybe because it really was a sort-of brake-test that was not intentional. I think it’s obvious Hamilton did slow down after the apex, no matter what the stewards claim. And if it wasn’t, I think he may have received some additional punishment.

        Now what Vettel needs to do is keep his emotions under control.

        1. “no matter what the stewards claim”

          stewards didnt claim he didnt slow down… they said it was not erraticly done as Vettel was claiming that… brake testing is quite hard to prove here as he already slowed down here before and he was expected to slow down to bunch the field and get a good run afterwards… it was Vettel’s bad judgement/assumption to accelerate early to get advantage and not get caught… also it was Vettel claimed brake testing… he also stated he didnt think ham did it intentionally (referring to brake testing) then he said he did and here we are so what should i do (referring to his hands out banging to side of the car…)
          that is really puzzling… if he didnt think ham did it intentionally why the banging and anger? FIA showed farce actions again… all the noise and no action… Seriously Todt, F U! as one gentleman drive said once before!

          1. Obviously at the time of the incident Vettel thought Hamilton had slowed down intentionally and now he has realized that it was not the case, and as he said himself, he overreacted.

            “Erratic” is a bit subjective. I think neither of them had the best judgement – Vettel for staying close behind and expecting Hamilton to accelerate and not paying attention. And Hamilton for being a bit unpredictable and slowing down where cars accelerate. I think he should have slowed down more before the corner instead.

            I also think Keith’s theory why Hamilton had to slow down more could be true, and so the FIA saw both drivers’ points of view. Now if they only admitted the track design may have played a role….

      6. Ellison Frank
        4th July 2017, 2:24

        And you think that fine .

      7. @keithcollantine he also doesn’t really admit what he did. ‘I overreacted’ is as little as he could say to refer to the situation and get away with it.

        This hasn’t been a glorious moment for Vettel or the FIA IMO.

    7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      3rd July 2017, 19:36

      Yes, good thing they brought him in for that… Do I really have to apologize mom? I don’t want to!!!

    8. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      3rd July 2017, 19:44

      I know I have gone on about the 2nd incident not being intentional, but I think Vettel saying this has pretty much proved it.

      “I had no intention at anytime to put Lewis in danger, but I understand that I caused a dangerous situation.”

      Pretty much what I said. I don’t think Vettel intended to hit Hamilton the 2nd time. I thought it was just an overreaction in the heat of the moment which is exactly what I said. Explains why I didn’t think it was on purpose. This clearly doesn’t make it any better though. Being angry and loosing control and not realizing what you are doing is just as bad. But it was only at that moment that Vettel had this. Other than that, he is normally fully in control which is what an F1 driver needs to be. I know the incident happened all the same anyway but all I’d been trying to point out is that I didn’t think Vettel deliberately hit Hamilton on either occasion. He just overreacted.

      1. @thegianthogweed
        He clearly meant to hit him. You can’t seriously believe that a “world class” 4-time F1 champ accidentally veered right into Hamilton.

        Vettel should have his super licence revoked if he can’t control his car at 30mph!

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          3rd July 2017, 20:39

          I don’t think he did exactly accidentally hit him. I just don’t think he had the intention to. Please read my wording. It is unacceptable no matter what he did still though. I think he just swerved towards him without realizing quite how much he did so at the time no matter how stupid that sounds. But I don’t think he will have used the words “I had no intention at anytime to put Lewis in danger” if he actually tried to crash into Hamilton. Because those words really would look silly if that was the case and I don’t know if they will have accepted it if that was the case. I still think it was just him overreacting at that time that made him unaware at that moment of his actions. And then later in the race, being unaware that he’d even done anything wrong as he only seemed to remember the first clash. The fact that he didn’t remember it happening also sort of explains to me that it wasn’t on purpose. This could well make the whole thing sound worse but I still think his penalty was fair and appropriate.

        2. Vettel hit Hamilton intentionally because by the time he pulled up alongside Hamilton was preparing for the restart and didn’t even notice Vettel gesticulating and all, so it further infuriated Vettel hence the whack for attention.

      2. Ben,

        He didn’t say that it wasn’t intentional. You can intentionally hit someone’s car without trying to hurt them.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          3rd July 2017, 20:45

          @aapje

          Yes, you have a point there. There are a few different ways of taking this line in though. “I had no intention at anytime to put Lewis in danger”

          But I do get what you are saying. He could mean that even if he admitted that he did try to hit Hamilton, that he didn’t think it was putting him in any danger. But I somehow think that that is less likely to be what he is thinking than what I said.

    9. “I got surprised by Lewis and ran into the back of his car. With hindsight, I don’t believe he had any bad intentions. ”

      ‘surprised by Lewis’ – Surprised by what? He’s still indicating Hamilton did ‘something’

      ‘i dont beileve he had any bad intentions’ – Again, indicating Hamilton did ‘something’

      This ‘apology’ has me fuming. The fact that he got away with any further penalty because of this ‘apology’ makes me boil.

      1. thats how vettel apologises.

        1. my guess is that Vettel brought in a lawyer showing that his contract expressly states “i do not have to slow down for Lewis”

      2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        3rd July 2017, 20:03

        I do agree with everything he said pretty much.

        Your first point. It understandably was a little surprising how slow Lewis did go as it wasn’t necessary to go quite as slow as he was, especially after the fact he’d being complaining about the slow safety car (which was actually going way faster than he was then) Vettel was just stating his opinion. I think that was perfectly fair to say. He still admits he was at fault but it is true that it probably wouldn’t have happened at all if Hamilton didn’t go that slow.

        Then Vettel saying ‘i dont beileve he had any bad intentions’ makes sense too from Vettel’s view. He is probably meaning that he didn’t think Hamilton purposely tried to slow him down to have cause any trouble. That is another thing I don’t see anything wrong with Vettel saying. I don’t quite understand why this apology has you fuming and is making you boil! :D

        I think his apology was perfectly reasonable and he got the most harsh penalty possible in the race before a black flag and then 3 penalty points on top. I think that is enough and time to move on.

        1. ” It understandably was a little surprising how slow Lewis did go as it wasn’t necessary to go quite as slow as he was, especially after the fact he’d being complaining about the slow safety car”

          Hamilton was talking about the general pace of the SC, making it difficult to keep temps up. When he slowed down, he slowed down because the SC lights went out and he was momentarily giving it space to get racing again, a normal practice under SC restarts.

          “I don’t quite understand why this apology has you fuming and is making you boil! :D”

          Because of the wording, this is not an apology of any sort, this is Vettel still thinking he done nothing wrong but making a public statement in order to satisfy the FIA’s needs.

        2. “It understandably was a little surprising how slow Lewis did go as it wasn’t necessary to go quite as slow as he was”

          Oh! Well then, we have a bonafide expert! I guess it was hamiltons fault all along then, some guy on the internet said so, it must be true.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            4th July 2017, 10:35

            You really are overreacting to what I said. It was Vettel’s fault. I’m just saying that Hamilton didn’t need to slow down quite as much as he did. And if he didn’t do this, then it is very likely that none of this will have happened. But Vettel should have realized how much Hamilton slowed down. But he didn’t. Then hit him once, then overreacted and hit him again.

            1. You seem to be deliberately perverse.

              Your view of how slow Hamilton should be at any point is irrelevant.

              No doubt you would have preferred him to run into the back of the safety car at the end of the straight for which, no doubt, he would have got a black flag!

              He HAD to slow down to allow the safety car off the track. Seb knew this and for whatever reason – probably fixated on Perez – sped into the back of the Mercedes. What followed was nuts.

              What has followed that is the very worst excuse for an apology I have ever seen. How they let him get away with that I do not know. How they let him get away with the act I do not know.

              The biggest single tragedy is that now all drivers can do the same and know exactly what the penalty will be and there is nothing the FIA can do because they have set precedent.

            2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
              4th July 2017, 18:07

              OK, I’ll just try to reword what I mean. I’ll start by saying Hamilton wasn’t at fault. I was just saying that although he did indeed need to slow down, he didn’t need to slow down quite as much as he did. If he didn’t slow down by as much as he did, it could be possible that Vettel didn’t hit him. I’m not trying to make it sound like Hamilton caused the whole situation as Vettel could have been to the left of Hamilton and avoided hitting him even if Hamilton did slow right down.

              But anyway, in the end, yes, Vettel was totally responsible. I didn’t want Hamilton to run into the back of the safety car at all. That is just going way to far to suggest that is what I wanted.

              IMO, Vettel got the penalty he deserved and that with the 3 penalty points was enough. Everyone reads his apology in many ways and there are so many different ways we take in what he could have meant. I think we just have to accept that the people Vettel spoke to will have heard more from him than we will ever get to know and they will have to think he had made a decent enough apology to let him off for this. Even us not hearing his apology can make it look different when you read it in words. It may have came across differently if we heard him say it as well as all the other things he said to them. There will be reasons why they have left it at this. So lets move on.

            3. Okay one last time.

              It is Hamilton’s JOB to slow the pack down. Otherwise he will run into the safety car and/or hit the brakes flat out and let the field past. FURTHER THERE WILL BE LOTS OF CRASHES FOR WHICH HE WOULD BE BLAMED.

              Seb knows this, all drivers know this, and all drivers except Seb kept sufficient room to allow this to happen. In other words they know it is Lewis that takes the role of the safety car and slows the pack to the point the safety car can get off the circuit.

              Seb forgot he was not in the lead and simply screwed up.

              Then followed it with the kind of action that earns him the nickname ‘Pettal’

              The stewards expressly stated Lewis did nothing wrong.

              The FIA did not even bother asking him to their meeting as they knew he had done nothing wrong.

              Yet you and many others are still trying to apportion some part of blame by insinuating he ‘could have gone round the corner faster/slower (insert any other incorrect statement about LH here)

              Not only did he not have to do anything other than back the pack up, he could happily have rolled to 5kmph on that bend instead of the 50kmph he was running at.

              Dry racing speeds – that bend is taken at 100kmph.

              Suddenly not that slow was it?

      3. What’s surprising is a 4-time wdc not anticipating the lead car taking control of the race pace once the safety car was called in.

        1. What’s surprising is a 4-time wdc not anticipating the lead car taking control of the race pace once the safety car was called in.

          Good point. I think what really happened was that Vettel expected Hamilton to drive his car behind the SC in a similar manner to the way he, Vettel, himself did several times in the past. Obviously that was not the case, especially due to Hamilton’s worries about staying behind the SC. I am pretty certain that Hamilton did not “brake test” Vettel; not that I would put it beyond Hamilton to do something to undermine a rival but in this particular case there was a very high risk of a rear puncture of the Merc from Vettel’s front wing. So, the first impact was a pure accident and Vettel, as a 4-time WDC, should have realised that immediately. His mistake was then twofold – first, not assessing the situation properly and second (and much worse), the knee-jerk reaction of drawing alongside and bumping Hamilton. That deserved a penalty and the stewards gave it to him. The 10-sec stop-go penalty cost Vettel a win and 13 points plus the 3 points on his licence. That was proportionate to the offense.

          Most Hamilton fans are upset because despite the penalty Vettel finished ahead of Hamilton. But that was due to entirely different sequence of events which had nothing to do with Vettel. The F1A committee could not – and did not – consider the problems that Hamilton had with his headrest in deciding whether to increase Vettel’s penalty.

      4. Hamilton did do something….Jackie Stewart said so.

        The apology reminds me of a Father Ted episode when Father Jack is forced to apologise ‘I’m soooooooo soooooooooory’

        If this had been the other way round the same actions would have been taken. I remember the overtaking the safety car in 2010 and the downright lie in Australia 2009. Driving Rosberg off the track a few times but that was good defending when Rosberg did it or Vettel on Massa last year it was a penalty. Swings and roundabouts. I am glad Vettel gave a forced half hearted apology.

        1. There was good reason for the ‘downright lie’ in 2009. Hamilton gained a rightful position when Trulli drove himself off the circuit. Hamilton knew the position was rightfully his but the team weren’t sure and, knowing how the FIA seemed to punish Hamilton at any given opportunity back then, the team told Hamilton to give the place back and argue it later, Hamilton gave the place back. After the race, the team realized Hamilton was actually right and that the place should have been his in the first place, and thus, they lied about Trulli retaking the position under the SC (instead of being given that place back by Hamilton)

          Re: driving Rosberg off the track, again, this was nothing more than a standard racing tactic where-by the guy on the outside isn’t far enough in front to dictate the corner, so leaving himself exposed to being pushed wide, this manuever is what Vettel pulled on Hamilton in Spain a few races ago, this was fine, no one said anything at the time, or afterwards, because, as i said, standard racing tactic. Rosberg got punished for example, in Austria, because the car on inside literally made no attempt to even make the corner.

          1. Ah ok. Hamilton was justified in lieing in 2009 to gain a position as he gelt everyone was against him. Clears that up.

    10. “During the re-start lap, I got surprised by Lewis and ran into the back of his car. With hindsight, I don’t believe he had any bad intentions.”

      Does this mean he still believes he was brake checked by Lewis?

      1. yip, that’s why this apology is a farce.

      2. Brake checks would require intentions

        1. Maybe he did it with the best of intentions! That would still fit Vettel’s remark.

      3. Yeap, the apology is a total farce.
        But you didn’t exepcted Todt would hurt Ferrari, did you?

      4. No, it means he thinks Hamilton slowed down unpredictably, but that he didn’t intentionally try to brake test him.

      5. At least this means that Vettel actually wrote the thing and didn’t have a PR person write it for him. Be thankful for that lol.

    11. Justin Bauer
      3rd July 2017, 19:58

      There have been more intentional, much more dangerous incidents in the past (Senna on Prost, Prost on Senna, Schumacher on Hill, Schumacher on Villeneuve for example), with greater championship implications. This is small time in comparison and the punishment fits the crime because Vettel did not cost Hamilton the race or the championship.

      1. Senna on prost was premiditated but totally within the rules and further triggered by the moving of the pole position spot to the dirty side.
        Justice for the farce of previous year.

        Still more an act of brilliance than foul play in my book. Crash in first corner, champion, bye bye, now try and take that one away from me 😀

        1. Still more an act of brilliance than foul play in my book. Crash in first corner, champion, bye bye, now try and take that one away from me 😀

          So the reason 1989 was a farce was because it took place at the first chicane instead? :p

          1. @davidnotcoulthard

            wasnt that just a hard racing situation. disqualifying Senna for taking the longer route (by the french guy in charge), that was the farce i meant.

            1. @maxv Oh yeah – forgot about that part. (remembered it as a double retirement, which I guess sort of was but…)

        2. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
          3rd July 2017, 21:58

          @maxv so it was an act of brilliance in cars where drivers could still die in? Or you forgot what happened to Ratzenberger and Senna himself 4 years later.
          And that wacko is Hamilton’s hero, yet he gets brushed at 30kph and Vettel “is a disgrace” and “bad example for children.”
          And people say that Vettel’s comments are a farce?

          1. I’m not a fan of sennas “checkers or wreckers” driving style. If there was an instance of senna basically being trolled into a rage, that would be disgraceful as well.

            Two wrongs don’t make a right, both senna and vettel were wrong in the way they acted… vettel’s mistake was a bit more… embarrassing though.

          2. @omarr-pepper

            drivers could still die in?

            Which hadn’t happened for a pretty long time by then – just like it had been between Imola 1994 and, say, MSC’s Ferrari 5-title-in-a-row era.

            I mean, what makes you think drivers can’t die in F1 cars today?

        3. Before Senna on Prost, there was of course, Prost on Senna which everyone conviniently forgets.

    12. Ok, so bring it on. This is now officially allowed conduct. The penalty is not severe. Kids should take notice. A 10 sec and apology. Totally worth it!

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        3rd July 2017, 20:06

        10 seconds plus the time it takes to drive through the pits which ads up to 30 seconds. Plus 25% of the points needed altogether to get you a race ban. That IMO was an adequate and severe enough penalty for what he did.

      2. @mayrton

        penalty

        .

        officially allowed

        choose one

        (besides, the penalty was literally infinitely harsher than Suzuka 1990)

        1. well almost literally – technically it would be Indeterminate, I guess

    13. Guess other drivers mistakes are forgiven by apologi in the furure! Charley Whiting is a joke. FIA is a cirkus and a joke!

      1. +1000

    14. F1 is a non-contact sport and intentional contact should be penalised. This is effectively like getting away with an a dangerous tackle in football, and subsequent red card, by saying sorry.

      1. Vettel absolutely did not touch Hamilton, despite trying very hard. So, no-contact maintained, Vettel did nothing wrong!

      2. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
        3rd July 2017, 22:02

        And he was penalized.

    15. Neil (@neilosjames)
      3rd July 2017, 20:16

      Meaningless and totally pathetic in the circumstances. Had it come straight after the race, or through other channels the day after (at the very latest), I’d have thought more highly of it… but this is nothing more than a squeezed-out bit of drivel produced by a driver who was probably laughing and smiling as he departed this ‘meeting’. Reminds me of the rubbish statements made by people in courtrooms who ‘promise to change’ in return for a kindly wrist-slap from a gullible judge.

      Disappointed with Vettel and the FIA on this. Horribly handled by both of them. ‘Case closed’ it may be, but I doubt it’ll be case forgotten for a long time.

      1. Just a notion to real racing drivers! just say you misjudged it. Nothing will ever harm you!

        Pls whiting…I misjudged the situation under safetycar…no..I was not racing. Yes, i’ll issue a statement in public (WOW maybe Trump is right – you can win the race via social media!)

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          4th July 2017, 2:27

          @Kenneth and if Charlie says anything, immediately follow it by “here’s a message for you Charlie! *&@# off! *&@# off!”

          And then pre-empt the investigation by apologizing before the FIA calls you in.

          If the joke of a human excuse that is Todt is upset tell him you’ll start running into drivers during the safety car but you plan to apologize afterwards…

    16. Vettel will get booed at Silverstone but lucky for him there are only 2 more British Grand Prix left.

      1. I’d laugh if it wasn’t so sad

      2. Bernie had this London GP idea a few years back :p

      3. I hope that doesn’t happen. Hamilton was right last year when he told them not to boo Rosberg. It’s just pathetic behaviour.

      4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        4th July 2017, 2:31

        I think he should be booed – he has no respect for the sport, its participants, his fellow drivers and he should receive the treatment he deserves.

        If the FIA can’t do its job, it seems the fans need to let them know what they think of them.

        1. Larry De Cicco
          4th July 2017, 9:18

          Yes, plenty of hooligans left over from the soccer match the previous week

    17. Brian (@flyinglapct)
      3rd July 2017, 20:42

      I look at it this way – I believe, for the purpose of entertainment, we need villains in the sport. Like it or not, VET is considered a villain by many. For some reason, I’ve always been drawn to the villains in all sports. I find his fiery personality much more interesting than most of the other drivers. Looking at the current grid, who else would be considered a villain? F1 needs VET as much as he needs F1.

      1. @flyinglapct
        Alonso, although he manages to avoid reproach by getting his team to do the dirty business ;)

      2. I feel you about villains…. SURE it’s rather close to h

    18. And now let’s all support Kimi for number one driver at Ferrari. Go kimi!

      1. I’m all for that!

    19. So let’s exclude him from the championship and handle LH the title.The only way the UK fans and the media will end the drama. SV believes he was brake tested he has the right to do so. He is a 4 times WC. In fact many people seem to be agreeing apart from the LH fanbase and the UK media. There was never an official press release on LH telemetry and there are videos that prove that he was dangerously slow. The fact that there have been many occasions where even SV himself did the same thing during restarts doesn’t mean that driving this way isn’t dangerous and that part of it is trying to affect the race of the people behind. SV got punished during the race for his REACTION and he is clearly apologising for that. Nothing more nothing less.

      1. So much wrong I honestly don’t know where to begin…

      2. has the right to do so. He is a 4 times WC

        https://youtu.be/aoMmbUmKN0E?t=2m23s

        1. Brian (@flyinglapct)
          3rd July 2017, 23:34

          I love that clip!!! “It makes me want to puke” – classic…

    20. Time to move on. With Ferrari unable to burn oil any more after Canada, the mercs will remain marginally better and added to the superiority of Lewis on the track, this will be resolved with a Lewis WDC this year.

      1. I don’t know about the marginally better mercs. They have a lot to catch up to with the bumper car upgrades Ferrari brought for Baku.

      2. With the astounding level of bias the FIA have shown the main driver of the Ferrari, I am afraid I have as little faith in Mercedes being allowed to win as I did in 2007!

    21. Pls! racing drivers…feel free to take a competitor out…drive into him and say you are sry!

    22. This is pathetic, like when your mum makes you apologise to your brother.. I mean he’s had a week to apologise without being prompted to. A forced apology lacks any real meaning and he’s still playing the victim “ooo I was surprised” well if that’s how he reacts to being surprised I hope no one threw Vettel a surprise party this year.

      1. That this was a forced apology is just conjecture though

        1. @davidnotcoulthard Is it?

          There has been a while week since the incident. Over that time, you can be certain that he will have reviewed the footage and data (at least in preparation for the hearing). And yet he didn’t apologise during that time, he waited until this hearing.

          If he wished to apologise, he could have done so last week. I can just about accept him not doing so immediately after the race without seeing the footage, but he had plenty of time after that. The fact that he waited until now is, at the very least, strongly suggestive that’s he was ordered to by the FIA. Far from just conjecture, it is at least a highly likely theory which fits all the available data better than any other theory available.

          1. @drmouse I guess it’s sometimes a bit like a lot of conspiracy theories – while I’m not inclined to really believe a lot of them to be false (there are after all a decent number that ended up being right), that doesn’t really necessarily make them true either (since a good number also turn up rather wrong) even when they seem very likely.

            The fact that he waited until now is, at the very least, strongly suggestive that’s he was ordered to by the FIA

            Not something I’ll disagree with.

    23. actually HAAS Why dont you have Grosjean crash frontleaders, so MAG wins? Grosjean just say after the race…i should not have done this?

      1. Because it didn’t work out for team Enstone (they tried)?

    24. Charley Whiting will forgive you!

    25. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      3rd July 2017, 21:11

      I think what bothered me personally was Seb playing dumb after the incident and using deflection tactics. Pretending the collision didn’t happen was tantamount to lying. This is all it took, we got there in the end so hopefully this can be put to bed.

    26. “I love this sport and I am determined to represent it in a way that can be an example for future generations.”

      Sorry Seb, but you’ve failed… your potty-mouthed outburst last season was a low point and now you’ve compounded your hothead-idiot status with this latest incident… you’re a champion but you’re bad, bad example of a sportsman. Most drivers mature with age.

    27. Seems like such an “unforced” appology. I like Seb, I am quite a fun, but there is nothing about this crash from about 5 seconds after the wheels banged to now that I like.

      Be a man, addmit wrongdoing. Webber would addmith a mistake after the race, It took Seb 10 days and an FIA hearing.

      He has Nico Rosberg levels of playing dumb, Lewis Hamilton levels of pretence and Sebastian Vettel levels of arrogance.

      Just bad on so many levels. That was poor.

    28. Cool Vettel. You did the right thing.
      Cry Hamilton plays dirty as always did.
      You are a great champion!

    29. Nevertheless, in noting the severity of the offence and its potential negative consequences, FIA President Todt made it clear that should there be any repetition of such behaviour, the matter would immediately be referred to the FIA International Tribunal for further investigation.

      sounds too familiar! Farce!

      “secondly due to the damage such behaviour may cause to the FIA’s image and reputation of the sport.”

      he just did extended the damage himself… good job Ferrari International Assistance!

    30. Webber would admit a mistake like this. Why Webber is on my all times great. >Vettel can only admit to this but will refuse!

      1. Webber is a hero with his humble and grateful ego… and is rightly afforded hero-like status by the fans… He is universally loved. VET will be remembered for his championships but derided for his temper, fierce ego and his arrogance. Different types of greats.

        1. remembered for his championships but derided for his temper

          Exactly what happened to Senna?

    31. What an absolutely predictable joke. FIA clearly as opportunistic and corrupt as FIFA. Trump level obvious stupidity.

    32. Well its set a precedent now……so no driver can get more than a drive thru and 3 points if they bang wheels during a safety car……and marshalls who would be on track during a safety car, will sleep easier knowing that some drivers are oblivious to their safety and are carrying out petty squabbles…..unbelievable!!!

      1. Are you SERIOUS? Are you really worried that you will see a rash of incidents were drivers just start bumping into each other like in an amusement park bumper car ride? Get a grip!
        And it wasn’t a drive through, it was 10sec STOP&GO. You all display so much indignation, but half of you haven’t even saw the incident or bother to remember the actual penalty and just like to spew half assed remarks because “it’s the internet and it’s cool”.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          4th July 2017, 2:43

          Sorry but you can’t do that and get away with it the way Vettel did. It’s just plain WRONG! Hamilton immediately pointed out that the penalty was ridiculous given the severity of Vettel’s action. He was racing when he said it because he couldn’t believe it.

          It’s still hard to believe that it happened and what’s happened afterwards.

          It’s the equivalent of whacking the ref with your racket at Wimbledon during the break – Federer has climbed onto the umpire’s chair and has hit him with the racket. He dropshot-tested me, says Federer! And whacks him again!

          “McEnroe here’s a message for you!”:-)

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            4th July 2017, 18:36

            I think the equivalent you are referring to is just a little over the top. F1 very often has contact. The cars contact each other very often, often resulting in far more damage than the Vettel/Hamilton incident. Even the incident Wehrlein and his team mate resulted in as much or more damage than this. Where as although I don’t really watch tennis, I don’t think there will often be moments when a ball accidentally hits someone and actually results in damage as it isn’t a dangerous sport like F1 is. Hitting somebody twice on purpose with a tennis racket is slightly different to a couple of cars contacting each other and the driver not exactly being in any danger at all. Vettel’s first contact clearly wasn’t deliberate even though it was his fault but I really don’t know how you can compare the 2 situations.

            I also can’t quite see what you mean by Vettel can’t do something and get away with it. He did what he did, which I admit was fully his fault. But if he got away with it totally, he would probably have won the race. But he did get a 10 second stop go penalty and 3 penalty points so he didn’t just get away with it. If you mean that he can’t get away with getting just getting this penalty then that isn’t exactly true as he clearly has got away with it. I think the penalty was fair as before the black flag, that is the most harsh penalty you can get. And on top of that is 3 penalty points which I think is enough. The FIA also clearly think his apology is enough to not take it any further. They will have heard more from him that we will get to know. So lets just accept it.

    33. Vettel’s apology was rather hollow and did not go far enough in my opinion. Today’s FIA reaction is no surprise though, really the fault lies with the original stewards in Baku, who failed to show the black flag in a scenario that was a textbook case of when a black flag should be used. In lower classes of racing any competitor that behaved like that would without question have been be removed from the race immediately and very possibly face the prospect of sitting out the rest of the season.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        3rd July 2017, 23:19

        @paulguitar I was watching MotoGP this weekend and they showed Black Flags for much smaller offenses…

        1. No they didn’t. Barbera was given a black flag because he did not obey the “drive-through” penalty he got for 3 laps. That would happen in F1 too if someone ignored a penalty for 3 laps.

    34. He should have got a black flag from the stewards in the first place, but moving on from this oversight I think this apology is pretty good. To be honest, I read the ‘he didn’t have any bad intentions’ as a pretty honest assessment to mean, he did not actually get brake checked (brake checking IS intentional by definition, so I don’t know what some of the comments above are on about, this apology is fine)… anyway, not that this apology will keep those on youtube and elsewhere from going on about brake checking, which is as anyone with a brain knows, ridiculous.

      So in summary, fair enough Sebastian… Stewards should have done a better job, but let’s move on.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        4th July 2017, 10:44

        @john-h
        I agree about what you have said about the apology. There are just so many different ways people read it. None of us actually know what he will be thinking, but if they have accepted it, I think they must believe his effort to apologies was good enough. I read this line in this way: “I had no intention at anytime to put Lewis in danger, but I understand that I caused a dangerous situation.”

        I thought he could have meant that he didn’t intend to put Hamilton in any danger meaning that he didn’t actually intend to hit him the 2nd time. He said this earlier “In the heat of the action I then overreacted” It is this that made me think that he’s possible admitting that he overreacted and was unaware of his actions at that moment in time which is what make me not so certain that the 2nd contact was on purpose. Especially as he seemed unaware that he’d hit him a 2nd time later in the race But as I said, everybody reads what he said differently. So none of us will actually know. I thought the penalty was fair enough as well as his apology. Hopefully we all can move on now.

        1. Ben if something as simple as an apology is that hard to understand by so many different people (and it’s not just this site – it’s everywhere) then, as I used to tell students, it must be badly written and lacking all contrition.

    35. Lewisham Milton
      3rd July 2017, 22:32

      If a driver could tweet a full, unreserved apology before the stewards have noted or investigated a racing incident, does he get off any punishment? On this precedent, he wouldn’t get a penalty, or even have to give a place back that he gained.
      There should be a steering wheel button for that!

    36. FIA Mike a mockery of F1 people seem to forget Todt ex Ferrari nothing was ever going to happen to Vetel that was clear fro the start it’s same old story report stinks Vetel know more means that apology

    37. Editorial clarifications below. [What Vettel really meant.]

      “Concerning the incidents of Baku I’d like to explain myself [AND AVOID FURTHER PENALTIES],” Vettel wrote.

      “During the re-start lap, I got surprised by Lewis and ran into the back of his car. With hindsight, I don’t believe he had any bad intentions (BUT HE STILL SLOWED TOO MUCH TOO QUICKLY. THE FIRST COLLISION IS LEWIS’ FAULT!).”

      “In the heat of the action I then overreacted, and therefore I want to apologise to Lewis directly, as well as to all the people who were watching the race. I realise that I was not setting a good example [DOH!].”

      “I had no intention at anytime to put Lewis in danger, but I understand that I caused a dangerous situation. [I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT THE SECOND COLLISION. EVER. I WILL NEVER ADMIT I DROVE INTO LEWIS IN A FIT OF RAGE]

      “I would like to apologise to the FIA,” Vettel added. I accept and respect the decisions that were taken at today’s meeting in Paris, as well as the penalty imposed by the stewards in Baku. [PLEASE, NO MORE PENALTIES, I HAVE A WDC TO WIN!]”

      “I love this sport and I am determined to represent it in a way that can be an example for future generations [BLOODY LEWIS. WHY DID HE HAVE TO BRING THE KIDS INTO IT?].”

      1. Perfect – just perfect…

        :)

      2. I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT THE SECOND COLLISION. EVER.

        Technically he just did, as indirect as it was.

        Otherwise, seems rather spot-on (and/or funny, anyway)

    38. To quote the great American philosopher Eric Cartman: “This is weak”.

    39. 1. I think the FIA should have a couple of more levels of punishment available to the stewards: a) give up 1 place at the end of the race. b) the lap where you commit the infraction doesn’t count, and you lose a lap.

      2. Vettel’s own faux ignorance of the entire matter belies his clear understanding of his actions and the potential danger he caused. I am a Vettel fan and always want to see him beat Hamilton, but in my opinion he should have forfeited his points and been given 10 place grid penalty in Austria. The second bump was intentional, under SC and completely illegal and unsafe. He deserves real punishment for that. Yes he lost a chance for a win, but the FIA needs to make this a no-points and future consequences infraction.

      I said before, though, Todt and the FIA want to see a non-Merc champion this year, preferably Ferrari, so, there is that.

    40. First happy birthday, Sebs….
      And good thing this is over….I’d miss you on the track, for something you were not completely responsible for (it takes 2 to tango). Please keep your nose clean and let’s get rid of some of these super license points. You are the better driver! I never hear you telling Kimi what to do during a race, or telling the team how to get you to win…..just continue to be “silent but deadly!”. Go get your 5th championship…this time in red!!!

      1. @sj

        ‘for something you were not completely responsible for (it takes 2 to tango).’

        We still keep hearing and reading this sort of thing.

        I am sure all sensible folks accept that the stewards have access to much more info than we armchair fans.

        So then, are we to think they colluded and subsequently lied about Lewis Hamilton being blameless, or are they all corrupt?

    41. It would be somewhat ironic if SV committed another offence this weekend resulting in a further 3 penalty points and a race ban for Silverstone.
      At least then we wouldn’t hear the crowd booing SV.

      1. Willy Fankhauser
        4th July 2017, 1:40

        ALL COMMENTS HERE ARE PERFECT… BUT DON’T FORGET THE MOST IMPORTANT FACT…
        FIA CHIEF TODT= EX FERRARI
        DON’T SEARCH JUSTIFICATIONS ANYMORE…
        VETTEL THE SHAME DIRTY DRIVER…
        NOTHING ELSE TO SAY…

    42. Paul Dagenais
      4th July 2017, 2:15

      the new american owners should feel good about Baku and why not they had a race that seemed scripted for the movies three safety cars being called out a virtual S.C. team mates banging into each other Hamilton’s woes because of his head rest the two Finns colliding again Vettel vs Hamilton a red flag to stop the race and new boy Lance Stroll on the podium!

    43. Well, that sure reads as a genuine apology, not. Late and lawyerly worded, about as disappointing as Vettel has been during this whole affair.

    44. It’s amazing how Hamilton, the star of liegate, suddenly is the fairest driver ever to the brits… He did not step on the brakes, but simply lifting on an F1 car produces a dramatic deceleration. Doing that at the exit of a corner is, in practical terms, the same thing as hitting the brakes hard on a normal car, hence Vettel hit him. So, please, give me a break. No telemetry will deny the fact that slowing down at a time when everyone else was doing the opposite is a smart move. Lewis, as usual, is posing as the victim, but we know you better. Actually the only disappointing/surprising thing now is the British press, which seems to have hit an all time low in terms of standards. Really biased and poor use of common sense. I’m not the greatest Vettel/Ferrari fan, but now more than ever I really hope they kick Lewis’ ass on the track so we get to see what else the brits will come up with to disqualify him…

      1. @lancesuk

        I don’t wish to appear rude, but it is amazing how so many frequenting a site such as this can be so wide of the mark on this issue. This is NOTHING to do with nationality, please stop with this…. I like Seb, but what he did was completely unacceptable. Down at your local kart track, if you had paid 10 quid to have an ‘arrive and drive’ plod around the circuit, you would be off the track and in the naughty corner PRONTO for what Seb did.

        In F1? It is outrageous.

        Lewis did not brake test Seb, and backing off the accelerator to prepare for the restart is not the same as braking in a normal car in an F1 car at such a slow speed, where the downforce is not working.

        Seb messed up, tried to anticipate when Lewis would take off, and made a simple and genuine mistake by preempting him. We all know this, it is what the stewards found with far more information than we, the armchair viewers have, and frankly it is getting tiresome hearing and reading the steam of unsubstantiated nonsense on this.

    45. There should be a new term from now on – “Vettel Apology” = How to apologize without really apologizing.
      Clearly the FIA has different rules for different drivers. The Hamiltons and Vettels are allowed to get away with these things. Imagine if this was a Kevin Magnussen or Pascal Wehrlein and what penalties they would have imposed.

      1. How is it Lewis has been almost squeaky clean through 4 consecutive title battles. With the way his career started and that 2011 season one would expect Lewis to be the one initiating this dirty moves but it’s been Nico and Seb playing dirty all along. Through this whole thing that’s the thing that surprises me the most. Lewis had been just this side of the law through this four consecutive title battles and his rival has almost always resorted to underhanded tactics.

        Not a big fan of the guy but kudos to Lewis for keeping his head when most would expect him to lose it.

    46. It’s good that Vettel apologized. But he should have done it much faster so that we all move on and especially the media move on.

    47. Larry De Cicco
      4th July 2017, 9:05

      Hamilton has supplanted Alonso as the F1 prima donna (although when Alonso was a factor, he certainly bent every rule possible). Just look at the way he raced with and treated his teammate last year. He has a great way of suckering people into making mistakes.
      Let’s take Baku. There is much talk about brake checking. The telemetry says otherwise; but any devious driver does not brake check when telemetry would give that away. So he simply lags the throttle at a time all behind expect acceleration, producing an accordion effect, and the desired restart gap. It is risky and puts the rest of the field at risk of likely impacts.
      But, hey; we’re talking THE F1 prima donna, a self-professed victim, who is going to play this incident up as though he had nothing to do with the outcome.
      What I cannot believe is that the whole of the F1 circus hasn’t exposed him for these tricks and that the entire barrage of reporters are oblivious to the obvious.

    48. I’m put in mind of when Mosley spoke to Senna after the 1990 Japanese grand prix and said “Look, Ayrton, there are two kind of people in sport; There are amateurs and there are professionals. What you did was amateur”. I dare say Vettel realised the gravity of his actions and owned up to it.

    49. Sunny Mahachi
      4th July 2017, 15:49

      The FIA has been very lenient in their decision not to pursue this further. Had a similar incident taken place on a public road I am sure Vettel would have had more to answer for. His reaction was just a poor error of judgement which may have had a very bad outcome. His apology also reeks of doing as he was told rather than honest remorse.

    50. So the Tour de France directors have no problem demoting and then ‘black flagging’ Peter Sagan after side swiping a British favourit, despite Sagan sincerely apologising right after the finish. FIA directors, take note how it should be done.

    51. I think Seb was concerned with Perez behind him and what had happened at the previous restarts when the cars behind him almost got him. He lost concentration for a second and hit Lewis and then completely lost it in his anger. For the second time, Seb is being allowed to get away with a public apology. I am a fan of his. But if drivers are allowed to escape punishment after writing apology letters, we might as well have no rules. At the very least they could have docked him the 12 points scored. In the scale of what happened, that is not a big deal.

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