Belfast Telegraph

Hamilton has to take some blame for Vettel clash, insists Stewart

 

By Philip Duncan

Sir Jackie Stewart believes Lewis Hamilton must accept some blame for a bust-up with title rival Sebastian Vettel during Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Vettel hit the back of Hamilton's Mercedes as the pair weaved behind the safety car, with the German claiming he had been brake-tested by the three-time World champion.

The Ferrari man responded by pulling up alongside Hamilton, gesticulating and seemingly driving into the side of the Mercedes.

Hamilton - now 14 points behind Vettel after their respective fifth and fourth-place finishes - denied braking suddenly and labelled his rival a "disgrace", with Vettel hit with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty and handed three penalty points on his licence.

But, while Stewart feels Vettel has tarnished his reputation, the Scot - World champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973 - reckons Hamilton should accept a bit of responsibility for the flashpoint.

"His reputation is certainly tarnished," Stewart said when asked about Vettel's actions. "But what created the incident is what occurred when Lewis slowed down so quickly. You have got to take that into account.

"That was a shock to Sebastian, and that is why he came alongside Lewis. What Vettel then did was to unquestionably collide with Hamilton. There is no room for that.

"It would be very simple to put the complete blame on one man, but what initiated the bad behaviour was what happened before.

"It was totally unexpected. I am not trying to hook Lewis into this the wrong way, but that was the crux of what happened."

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