Belfast Telegraph

Vettel in clear after Hamilton clash


By Robert Jones

Four-time World champion Sebastian Vettel escaped punishment from Formula One's governing body yesterday after deliberately colliding with Lewis Hamilton at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last month.

The German also apologised at the meeting, and published an apology via his personal website.

"During the re-start lap, I got surprised by Lewis and ran into the back of his car," he said. "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 watching the race. I realise that I was not setting a good example.

"I had no intention at any time to put Lewis in danger, but I understand that I caused a dangerous situation.

"Therefore, I would like to apologise to the FIA. 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."

FIA president Jean Todt said in a statement: "Top level sport is an intense environment in which tempers can flare.

"However, it is the role of top sportsmen to deal with the pressure calmly and to conduct themselves in a manner that not only respects the regulations of the sport but which befits the elevated status they enjoy.

"Sportsmen must be cognisant of the impact their behaviour can have on those who look up to them. They are heroes and role models to millions and must conduct themselves accordingly."

Championship leader Vettel, who turned 30 yesterday, will start this week's Austrian Grand Prix with his 14-point margin over title rival Hamilton intact.

He is still walking a disciplinary tightrope after he was hit with three points on his F1 licence for the Baku incident, taking his tally to nine. If he obtains three more on Sunday, he will automatically miss Hamilton's home race at Silverstone.

Belfast Telegraph

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