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Niki Lauda: Crazy' Sebastian Vettel 'freaked out' in Baku

26 June 2017

Vettel accused Hamilton of braking unnecessarily during the restart, but he claims he was just making space between himself and the safety vehicle by driving slowly, after being warned by his engineer during the first restart that it had been "close" as they crossed the line.

"If he wants to prove that he is a man we should do it out of the vehicle, face-to-face".

Vettel believes Hamilton should have also been penalised for the incident, while Hamilton said Vettel had "disgraced himself" with his actions.

In my opinion, the FIA should choose a retired grand prix driver, give him a proper salary, and a position that he is the authority.

Three-time world champion, and Mercedes' non-executive chairman, Niki Lauda, has admitted that he is baffled by the incident that saw Sebastian Vettel barge into rival Lewis Hamilton's vehicle at the second re-start, costing the German a 10s stop and go penalty and a possible win. "I know my boys will be devastated [about the head-rest issue] but I think it's important to take away the great performance throughout the weekend".

"I'm sure he didn't do it on goal but for sure it was not the right move".

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Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene added: "With what happened between Bottas and Kimi and then Sebastian, I would say 'Is this formula one or the Coliseum?'"

Vettel of Germany was given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty in the race - won by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo - after being found guilty of risky driving but still finished a place ahead of Hamilton in fourth, extending his championship lead to 14 points.

"Did I ever think I would win?"

At that stage, Hamilton led the street race after making a clean start from the pole position and was slowed down by the safety auto ahead of him and in attempts at avoiding crashing into the safety vehicle, the British driver slowed down at the turn.

"He was accelerating then he braked so much that I was braking as soon as I saw, but I couldn't stop in time and ran into the back of him". If I'm struggling, people at the back struggling even more, so I don't think it was necessary.

Vettel continued to protest his innocence after the race. I don't think this is the right time to talk. We are both grown-up men. Today was obviously a different Sebastian we've seen than in those eight races.

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Hamilton and Vettel have won a combined seven F1 titles and more than 100 races.

It was described as "potentially dangerous" driving and in addition to the time penalty in the race he was also given three penalty points on his racing licence, taking him to a total of nine.

Will Vettel face further action?

"Nobody wanted to see the schmoozing anyway, so now the gloves are off", the Austrian told Sky Sports television after Hamilton had dubbed the Ferrari driver a "disgrace" and suggested they sort things out "face to face".

"They are warriors. They are at war at that moment". "At a certain stage, the best ones that compete for world championships can't be friends".

"Emotions are running high, they're fighting for a world championship". In Spain last May, Hamilton had spoken about how enjoyable it was to be battling a rival who was not a team mate - his main opponent for the past three seasons - and the admiration he felt for Vettel's speed and consistency.

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