Crime and punishment

It is no great surprise to hear that the FIA is going to take a further look at the incident in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix when Sebastian Vettel deliberately drove into Lewis Hamilton. In truth the governing body had to do something – and it has been inevitable since the Baku race ended. Why? Because Jean Todt has led the federation to focus on road safety and allowing one of its highest profile F1 stars to indulge in what can only be described as ‘road rage’, without getting a suitable penalty – which a 10-second stop-go was clearly not – is just plain weak. Todt has been so hands-off in the sport that some think it is unhealthy, but he cannot afford to be seen to be weak over safety. He simply cannot. And, let us not forget, there is an FIA election coming up. Todt isn’t going to lose it. It’s doubtful there will even be a rival candidate, but anything that appears weak could be the spark for an uprising. The FIA does its politics behind closed doors but Todt wants to be quite sure he’s not too close to any tipping point.

What is the right punishment? Ah, that’s another problem… Taking away Vettel’s points from Baku might be an option, but it might also be neater to simply ban him for one race. That would send out the message loud and clear, and Vettel needs to be taught how to behave. A spoilt child sometimes needs to be shown where the limit is.

The interesting thing is that Ferrari will now see just how worthless its attitude towards the media has been in recent months. The team is about to get its arse handed to it on a plate. There is no sympathy at all in the media as a result of the team’s stupid decision to deliberately ignore the press. They can wail and gripe and no one cares (apart from a few sycophants and some Italians who only see red) because the company has blown the goodwill that it used to have. If you plant stinging nettles in your garden, you should not be surprised if you get stung. Maybe ignoring the press has allowed the team to focus more on getting the job done, but it was never an intelligent move. The point of Ferrari being in F1 is to sell cars and winning races is not the whole story. Engagement is important.

In truth, the team has a great story in what has been achieved by Mattia Binotto and his team. Binotto seems a likeable fellow and his achievement this year has been impressive, but we’re not allowed to speak to him. Ferrari fans will no doubt write rude remarks about the British media (although I am very definitely a European),  so allow me to illustrate that I am not the only one who feels this way. Listen to ace photographer Darren Heath in his blog from Baku.

“Ferrari really are a horrible team right now,” he wrote. “Dismissive of interest, completely devoid of any grace, charm or humility, they exude an aggressive arrogance that is bitter in its mien and wholly unpleasant to experience”.

Time for some changes methinks…

366 thoughts on “Crime and punishment

  1. Personally, I would be devastated if Vettel got a penalty that spoiled the championship fight. I was actually relieved that he got a penalty after Lewis has his headrest come undone for no other reason than it kept them next to each other.

      1. James Allen doesn’t agree with you Joe he says the penalty was common sense prevailing and there would have been a sense of denying the spectacle F1 needs and an outcry from fans. and that is good to sometimes have controversy and a bigger penalty would spoil the show. F1 is officially licensed as an entertainment not a sport in most countries so maybe James has a point thinking on it?

        1. James Allen was not in Baku so his judgement is less valid than those who were there and able to talk to those involved.

        2. What an idiotic comment.

          The “show” and the championship positions are totally irrelevant. This is a sport with rules, and not the X-Factor.

          We all want our sporting heroes to be fair and decent people. Hamilton has certainly shown that with his honesty, and control of his actions on track.

          Sadly, Vettel has not, and his continued lying about what happened, even in the face of the FIA telemetry shows the true nature of his character.

            1. Of Emerson, Lake and Palmer?

              Now that I write that, a pity there is no one named Lake in Formula 1, would be triple funny.

      2. The headrest coming loose was most likely due to the Mercedes team messing up after the red flag. The headrest was in any case a safety issue that needed to be addressed. It was not a penalty. Very different things.

        When I watched the race I thought that Vettel hitting Hamilton’s car was unintentional and a result of Vettel focussing on waving his hands at Hamilton rather than driving his car and I thought that the stop and go was a suitable punishment. However, if hitting Hamilton was intentional I wholeheartedly agree that he should be banned for a race but I also think that the stewards should have reacted to that immediately.

        I do find it tiresome that F1, the highest level of car racing, cannot get these things right. I wonder if the FIA would have revisited this had it not been for the outcry in media and I was also miffed by the debacle with Kvyat’s penalty(ies) in Montreal. It oozes amateurism.

        1. isn’t running into someone because you’re waving your hands at them just as bad as intending to hit them?

          i agree that this and DK’s incidents don’t make the decision making look amazing. At least their hands were well and truly full in Baku though.

    1. So it’s one rule for the championship leader and one rule for the others then is it, shouldn’t matter if sainz hit grosjean or vettel hit Lewis- the rule and punishment should be the same

      1. Apples and oranges. A racing incident compared with a driver deliberately colliding with another competitor during a non-racing, controlled period.

    2. On the matter of Ferarri and the media.

      Whoever peppers my internet pages with clickbait news pictures, keeps insisting that the bawling toddler Kimi fan was sorted out by Ferarri, and not FOM, so that is at least one source still on the team’s side.

    3. Lewis has come back from 40 points behind on two occasions; if Seb is as good or better, he can jolly well have a go at doing similar.

    4. Sean with all due respect, the penalty should be based on the circumstances of the incident in question, and not on the championship standings. The championship should not be artificially kept close by overly lenient punishments. What happens if Vettel wins the championship by just a few points? The stewards incorrect leniency will have just unfairly handed the championship to Vettel. And this time fortunately nobody was injured – but what happens next time Vettel decides to deliberately smash into an opponent?

      1. I cannot speak for the paddock but personally I have been following F1 for a long time and have not disliked a team as much as I do Red Bull.

    1. I remember reading that comment from Mark Hughes as well, but I guess from this vitriolic article towards our Italian friends that the press have now turned against Maranello instead. I had no idea that there was so much hatred and lack of respect felt towards them now!

      1. It is a little more subtle than that. Ferrari has treated everyone with contempt for the last year or so. You will find almost everyone saying that. The point I was making is that now Ferrari wants to get support and help from the media, it will not be forthcoming. It is just the way of the world. It’s not bias, it is life.

        1. I read Bruno’s comment as “his vitriolic article”, meaning the article of Mark Hughes about the Monaco grand prix, but that is projection on my part.

          In all fairness to you, the professional F1 journalists, I think you all are completely in the right if you not give Ferrari the benefit of the doubt anymore.

          Still, I will keep rooting for Seb and Ferrari to win, in spite of all their bad decisions 😦

        2. Granted I am not a journalist or even close to the action. I am an avid f1 fan though. I like all the different teams and think the diversity is what makes f1 great.

          When i think about ferrari I have to wonder if the constant pressure contributed to their standoff with media? And possibly they simply felt having to answer questions about underperfoming became a distraction?
          This breakdown in relationship feels like a what came first the chicken or the egg?

          Definitly agree that it would be in everyones best interest to reestablish a healthy line of communication. Maybe they need to hire someone talented in that role, maybe we could extend the olive branch?

          1. There are media and there are media. You cannot lump everyone together because some are very good and some are idoiots.

      2. Mark is far from complementary about Ferrari in his Straight Talk column in August edition of MotorSport, essentially 100% echoing Joe & Darren.

  2. > “Dismissive of interest, completely devoid of any grace, charm or humility, they exude an aggressive arrogance that is bitter in its mien and wholly unpleasant to experience”.

    Wait…they’ve secretly hired Ron Dennis?

  3. yep, but why Todt reacts only when something like this happens? where is he the rest of the times? now he wants to be The Do-right all of sudden. I’d say the best fine to Vettel would be not the race ban, not points being deducted, but few days doing social work like helping The Old Ones to cross the street or alike.
    as for Ferrari recent attitude it seem that they think that smoking guns tell it all if they win.

  4. the unapologetic post race “I’ll do it again if he messes with me again” tone of his post race interview isn’t going to help. nor is the Mexican GP F bombing of Charlie. they’re clearly going to make an example of him. Schuey got two races for ignoring black flags in 94 and i believe this is worse so expect at least two races

    1. In 1997 Michael had all his points for the 97 season taken away for his deliberate collision with Villienuve. As far as I can recall there was no race ban.

      1. I always thought that was an utterly pointless (pardon the pun) punishment. Ferrari kept the constructors’ points Michael earned them, so received no financial penalty for his actions in Jerez. And as far as I’m aware his ’97 race wins remain in the record books. So really what kind of punishment was it? Supine and pathetic.

      1. No – he drove into another competitor on purpose behind the safety car out of a fit of pique. What Schumacher did at Silverstone in ’94 was a blatant infringement of the rules but it was not dangerous. What Vettel did was both

  5. The FIA is so inconsistent. If they penalize Vettel for his somewhat crass move, then they had better be prepared to impose harsh penalties on all the hard racing.
    Otherwise it will be a hollow move, motivated by political reasons…

    1. The FIA is not one entity. It has done a good job in recent years of being consistent. In this case it did not work well, but generally we have had pretty sensible stewarding. Still, one can always improve

    2. I agree that the FIA needs to be consistent, there can and should be no “we can’t black flag or ban this guy, he’s in with a shout of the championship.” Actually deducting points, black flagging or banning at least focuses the minds of all the drivers, there is a real price to be paid, not just a slap on the wrist or a fine that probably means little to the drivers and shall most likely get somehow reimbursed by their employers anyway. The problem these days is top level motorsport is big business, brands and sales at stake so hard racing itself can be driven by politics and financial aspects. As an outsider I am not certain but F1 appears relatively clean in this respect given the budgets, say compared with the BTCC where over the last few decades the occasional contact of the past evolved into what seemed to be a professional foul in the 90s and 2000s, using contact to get past where pure racing has failed.

    3. This was nothing to do with hard racing. Arguably the initial collision where he went into the back of Hamilton was, and it seems common sense prevailed and it was put down as nothing more than a slightly clumsy racing incident. Deliberately driving into a rival car is a completely different thing.

    4. Hard racing is one thing and occasional accidental contact may be inevitable. However, Seb quite deliberately drove into Lewis under safety car conditions. They were not racing, it was quite simply stupidity, red mist or whatever. These guys are supposed to be the best in the world and as such, they need to set an example, or have an example made of them. I’d expect a race ban for Seb and maybe a public apology. He needs to grow up and realise that what he did is not the way a 4 times champion should act.

    5. Hard racing is one thing. Deliberate collision is an entirely different level of wrong, and deserves an entirely different level of harshness in punishment.

    6. It was not “hard racing”, in fact it was not racing at all, they were behind the Safety Car. All the drivers queue up behind the safety car, for reasons of safety. We are not talking about making a slight botch of a defensive move and accidentally tagging an opponent. We are talking about willfully and deliberately smashing into an opponent at a stage of the race where the drivers are supposed to be driving slowly and safely. Vettel didn’t even have anything to gain from hitting Hamilton – it was just pure malice.

      1. What i perceived as malice myself was the maneuver of Lewis Hamilton going out of throttle at a point when one normally does not and usually does not just as a clear attempt to harm or knock out a serious rival behind him . Seb response if somehow not completely right was at least not malicious at all but just aiming to point out to Ham ” i know what you tried to do here do not even think about it again ” …

        1. I agree with cfausa that Hamilton instigated the contact. He may not have braked but watching the replays after his speed fell from 140-odd to mid-eighties it rose again momentarily ro mid-nineties then he let it fall again which brought about Vettel’s response of “he brake tested me”, and of course his silly reaction. Hamilton should have bunched them up on the straight not exiting a corner. Vettel was careless to allow the contact when he pulled alongside to remonstrate. For me the pair of them were utterly ridiculous and should have received the same penalties from the incident.

  6. Thanks for the perspective and I feel you are correct regarding the penalty. My instant reaction on watching Vettel’s move was “black flag”.

    Those who behave as Mssr. Heath describes (Dismissive of interest, completely devoid of any grace, charm or humility, an aggressive arrogance that is bitter in its mien) usually do so because of some underlying esteem or shame issues. What such issues do the Ferrari folk harbor, aside from the effects of a long losing streak?

  7. Todt should also totally exonerate Lewis Hamilton from any blame in the incident. There should be no lingering doubt about Hamilton’s driving during any of the SC periods. I believe the FIA have released some data and graphs comparing the cars on that lap. Will non-technical fans be able to make sense of such information? I imagine there will be some obsessives already making up false stories about the data in an effort to stir up more anti-Hamilton/Mercedes nonsense by the deluded.

    I’m not sure what to make of the social media uproar that is probably responsible for the FIA looking at the incident. In the past the authorities have completely ignored the views of the public, is it possible they are now going to be swayed by world wide opinion. Next time a similar event occurs, will there be a Twitter or Failbook vote on the punishment of the guilty party?

  8. Gotta love the British press pressing in unison, like a perfect choir, for further punishments for Vettel. I am not seeing anywhere else in the world such a motivation. Vettel was wrong, but they were at 50kph. Come on. Let the battle between these two take place inside the race track, not outside. Taking points away from Vettel would only harm even more the championship. It is NOT the same as Schumi 94 and 97. He deliberately attempted to take the opponent out of the race in order to become world champion. Vettel did not intent to take Lewis out of the race. It was more like a punch intended thing, were they out of their cars. I hope the FIA does not buy into this commanding pressure from the Brits.

    1. Whilst it was a collision at low speed, what do you think would happen if it caused damage to Hamilton’s car and he had a catastrophic failure at high speed on the main straight ( which was straight from the re-start )?

    2. Not all of the German press is Helmut Marko, some are saying exactly the same about Vettel’s behaviour as Joe is here Lances, as are large parts of the Italian Press.

      Even if Vettel didn’t intend to hit (or not hit hard? like a ‘love/hate’ kiss??), that means he lost control of an F1 car during SC situation; it maybe improves his morals, but certainly not his self-control in the car.

    3. Perhaps, Lances, you’d like to suggest a speed at which drivers should desist from driving deliberately into an opponents car. Sixty? Eighty? A hundred, maybe.

    4. No you are completely wrong here, it maybe what you call low speed impact but what IF either car suspension rod has been compromised, then failed at 220mph later with a pack of what was 18 cars in close proximity? This is really not about the force of either blow nor the fact that VET actually was by a whisker in front of HAM whilst the SC light was still in, it’s about the intent and lack of self control. 4 x WDC should take ownership of his actions, his utter contempt post race only added fuel to the fire. I believe during the red flag he was told by Arrivbene to admit nothing. I actually used to despise VET at RB but then grew to like him in last couple of years because he showed humility but that clearly and sadly disappeared last Sunday

  9. Joe,

    You characterize your reporting as news. I am genuinely interested in your perspective on why you believe it’s ethical to say you believe a punishment was not sufficiently harsh and you propose alternatives before the FIA begins their investigation?

    Moreover, your story openly states that the media will have no sympathy for harsher penalties in light of the lack of communication from Ferrari to the press. Seems like the press should check their privilege – access to all Ferrari personnel is not a right. This type of reporting raises questions as to whether the media has intentionally sought to punish Ferrari by its coverage.

    I imagine your response will be for me to go elsewhere if I don’t like it. Nevertheless, at least to hear your perspective on the ethics concerns your story raises I wanted to ask.

  10. Bit of a rant ?
    Retrospective additional punishments are not in my opinion correct and this will be the second time in short order. The stewards are lacking consistency and good governance. If they did not have the authority to impose a suitable penalty at the time it should have been stated there and then that it would be decided after the race. No punishment should be increased or decreased because of the feelings of the English speaking press.

    1. I’m not suggesting that the press thing should alter the punishment. It is obvious that I am saying that Ferrari will not get much support because if this. Why is that difficult to understand?

      1. Jo, with all due respect, obviously Ferrari doesn’t care for support from press nor do they feel that they need it, otherwise they would have not placed all these restrictions in first place.

        1. CD (why should I try to get the name right when you cannot be bothered to), with all due respect, I don’t care that Ferrari doesn’t care. They will get the reaction that they will get. You reap what you sow.

      1. And why should double jeopardy be an issue here. This is not a court of law, the rules of the sport allow for issues such as this to be reviewed and harsher penalties applied

  11. So, this is why so many journalists are looking for a Vettel ban, to get a revenge on Ferrari, because that will teach them?
    That seems so childish from the outside.

  12. Watching the various replays, its clear things look very different from outside the car than they do from within, and (presumably) only the FIA has access to all the information on the incident. From Vettel’s cockpit cam it did look like Hamilton brake-tested him, he then pulled alongside Hamilton to protest, Critically you can’t see his right hand on the wheel at that point and my immediate impression was that the nudge into Hamilton was caused by him not having his hand on the wheel rather than deliberatel. It doesn’t look like that from the external video, but it would be interesting to know if the sensor data would reveal anything. If Vettel turned into him deliberately then I’d agree the penalty should be greater, otherwise i think Todt’s input would be better focussed on ensuring a better race from a period behind the safety car, perhaps even with the cars reforming on the grid and starting from the lights..

      1. I dont believe he deliberately rammed him either.

        He gesticulates with the his left arm over to the right side of the car. That action will drop your right shoulder which given the small gap (i.e. smaller margin for error) between the two cars, pushes the FerrarI into the Merc. If you’ve ever leant to the passenger side to grab something off the seat/close a window et al while driving a road car, the same occurs.

        He was angry and put himself and his car into a situation that left little room for error. He lost control of the car because he was angry and was more intent on shaking his fist than concentrating on the (now) small gap that was now between them.

        However, it DOESN’T absolve him from punishment. But seeing as they can’t determine intent (there is no car data that will determine if that steering wheel movement was 100% deliberate or not – the only data on that is in the noggin of Vettel), how can they now serve him with a further punishment to the one handed out in the race?

        Time to move on..

        1. I completely agree Chisel68. Good to see that at least someone here is using his brain. We just don’t know with the images we got on television. Give Vettel a fine and let him do some work in a hospital. He’ll get the message.

          1. You don’t know, but the FIA stewards do. The fact that they made a poor decision is what this is about, not the data.

      2. Some of you accuse Joe of being one-eyed and yet you suggest one of the best drivers the world hit another car by accident when that other vehicle was driving in a completely straight line at a constant speed. The FIA looked at the telemetry and Hamilton did not brake coming out of the corner. What is so hard to understand about this?

        1. Firstly for the record, I’m no particular Ferrari/Vettel fan. Or anti Lewis.

          I didn’t accuse Joe of being one eyed. I also didn’t query whether Hamilton did/didn’t brake test Vettel. Hamilton driving in a straight line at constant speed doesnt/won’t prove intent either.

          My point is that with 2 hands on the wheel, its more conclusive that the clash was intentional and a stiffer penalty imposed. But by taking his one hand off the wheel (as Vettel did) to gesticulate left him unable to have complete control of his car – yes, even as a world champion driver – and intent is harder to prove. Reckless, careless – absolutely.

          Hurumph all you like, but what may seem to some to be the most obvious explanation doesnt make it true.

            1. All I’m saying is that intention can’t be proved and I’ve heard no counter argument that proves it was intentional. Apart from “I was there at the race, I spoke to people…’

              Am happy to give up the argument if you can prove it was intentional Joe.

            2. There are only two possible options here:

              1) Vettel hit Hamilton deliberately.

              2) A four-time world champion cannot control a car going in a straight line at 50 mph.

              Really, which do you think is more likely?

        2. Hamilton may not have applied the brakes but he certainly slowed dramatically, it was very clear on the live feed at the time. I don’t believe it was an intentional brake check. It did, to me, seem like a strange place to slow when coming on to a long straight.

            1. Hello Joe, just one question ? Who actually was able to read the telemetry (but the marshals of course) ? I understand from the press and Toto that Lewis did not brake : I see from the videos that Sebastian accelerated out of that damn corner. What I’d like to know is if Lewis lifted off . Then I’ll make my valuation about the sportiness of Hamilton and a possible mistake by Vettel who, a few seconds later did a silly move (which move, btw , in my and Button’s opinion was already sanctioned)

              1. The FIA Stewards have access to all the data and they can see who braked where and when, who accelerated, who steered where. The whole thing.

              2. Well, Piero, during this week I saw someone put together speed data and position of Hamilton (and Vettel) on the lap of the incident, as well as in previous SCs and for Hamilton in the one after that. From that information, it was pretty obvious to see already.

              1. Well, you should go and get your eyes tested then…
                They don’t generally let people see what they have access to, but Race Control and the FIA Stewards have unbelievable access to data, film, voice and pretty much everything they could possibly need. It is the most advanced equipment anywhere in F1 and is probably a good model for what F1 could become in the years ahead once Liberty get things moving in terms of data access. If they make a ruling you be pretty sure that the information used was correct. And far better than the eyes of a TV viewer who has access to one or two camera angles.

                  1. Not necessarily. The telemetry is a matter of fact. The punishment is a matter of interpretation – i.e., not what happened, but how acceptable it was.

                  2. why should the fact that they have all the telemetry mean their penalty be correct ?
                    in a court of law both the offender and the prosecution can appeal the penalty

                  3. DC – brilliant.

                    Which means the only reason they are re-visiting this is because of a whole lot hysteria/noise in the media/social media.

                    As Jenson says, lets move on….

                    1. No, that is not why they are revisiting it. They are revisiting it because Sebastian Vettel did something outrageous and was not properly punished for it. Or at least that seems to be what they think. It has got nothing to do with the media. Jenon may say move on, but Jenson has never been an F1 Steward and may never be if he says such things. It is about being responsible for the sport.

    1. Don’t know what replays you watched but Vettel slowed to accelerate through the corner think Hamilton would accelerate after exiting which Hamilton didn’t. Vettel realised quickly that Hamilton wasn’t accelerating and tried to stop but ran into him.
      When Vettel pulled alongside he twisted to look over to the right and his left hand raised in response and the collision ensued.
      Did Vettel intend to ram Hamilton? I don’t believe so.
      Did he? Yes.
      Was the punishment too weak? Yes.
      Should another punishment be applied? No.

      Like another commenter my instant reaction is black flagged but really after watching the endless replies during and after the race, the punishment is in line with “causing a collision”. It looks worse because they weren’t racing.

      1. Of course he meant to hit him. There is no question and I doubt Vettel would insult himself by trying to argue it was an accident. It was a classic head-butt on a soccer pitch. Sending off would be normal.

        1. I completely agree, I just can’t figure out why anyone could think that it was anything but deliberate – he swerved and hit Hamilton. The drivers spend hours in the car and they now precisely where the wheel is – it would be impossible at that speed to have ‘wandered’ in to Hamilton because one hand was raised and brushed the wheel when moving upwards (which is what Grahamr is suggesting ?) to cause the car to go off course. That is just silly.

          1. Seems like most you’ll have never tried ramming into someone or something that is in motion. You pull out from behind the object. Thats one steer. Then u pull up alongside the object. Thats second steer. Then you swerve into the object. That was the 3rd swerve. Vettel swerved twice and the second his hand was not on the steering which shows that he did not have intent. It should be over now but everyone that is british or anti vettel is ranting and sating things that didnt happen during that moment. I guess all those would love it if vettel gets banned for the rest of the season so hamilton can cruise to the title.
            another thing is fia is not giving correct info. Vettel was slowing down all through the corner and fia say he braked then accelerated. Then fia also say hamilton was going 53km/h when footage shows vettel bumped into vettel doing about 45km/h. Which means hamilton was obviously slower than that.
            Incorrect info and acting on it to get vettel in more trouble is called cheating and favouring.

        2. Joe, sorry, but it cannot be compared to a head-butt and here is why. Even if we say that Vettel meant to hit Lewis, it was definitely not with intention of destroying Lewis’ car or his race. For that he would not go for wheel on wheel hit, not at such low speed and certainly not with a single hand on the steering wheel. If he wanted to destroy Hamilton’s race he would have waited to take him out of a turn at higher speed and more aggressively. This was more of a slight body-check in a sense of ‘hey, watch out, what do you think you are doing’. I have to agree with other comments like those from Martin Brundle, Jacky Steward and even if it pains me to say, Jacques Villeneuve. My impression is that too much has been made out of this and that it looked a lot worse than it really was. In addition, there were very well raised points from some other drivers which should be taken in consideration. I believe it was Sainz who complained about ‘dangerous’ restarts and what he said made a lot of sense and can be related to what happened between Vettel and Hamilton. Some more objectivity wouldn’t go amiss.

          1. I can compare thingsto whatever I wish to compare them. And I think the headbutt is the perfect comparison. It is not part the action. It comes as result of something else. If you think that driving into a nother driver is a “hey, watch out’ then you have different values to me. TV commentators say what they say for different reasons, some want to be contrary, some want to keep good relationships, some have grudges etc etc etc. How many of them are real journalists, with proper grounding in telling the story?

            1. You can compare it to a terrorist attack if you wish so and if you see logic in that, I am not denying that. Some may question the logic. And real journalists as opposed to TV commentators cannot succumb to the same?

              1. It depends on the person but a good journalist is a good journalist and judges things on their merits. If you don’t think I am a good journalist then why on earth are you wasting your energy with all these comments?

                1. Not at all, quite on the contrary. What I am trying to say is that there are also good TV commentators, because it seems that you are saying otherwise.

                  1. I am not saying that at all. There are some good ones but most of them are careful not to make enemies.

                2. And obviously I think you are a great journalist otherwise I would not bother reading your posts and especially I would not bother wasting my time going into discussion with you. At the same time, reading your responses to various comments over the years I can conclude that you do not necessarily like opinion that is different from yours. And while always extremely knowledgeable your posts can lack objectivity, which is totally OK given this is your blog. Please take this as a constructive criticism from someone who very much values your work, even if I do not always agree with your opinions.

          2. DC, Jackie Stewart will always take the side that opposes Lewis, so if you want an unbiased view, I would avoid touting him as a voice of reason.

            James Allen also compares the move to a headbutt, even if he favours a light penalty.

          3. Sainz did complain about the restarts but he added this and I quote

            “If I were the leader, I probably would’ve done the same.”
            “It’s not the leader’s fault at all.”
            “I think we would all have done the same to avoid the maximum possible slipstream.”

    2. So you are saying Vettel can’t steer properly? Maybe because he was waving his hands in the air?
      Vettel needs to understand that other teams drivers besides him have a right to be in his way if they are good enough. Its not all about him.

    3. Somehow I can’t believe that a Ferrari which provides a seat for the drivers’ championship leader is so unstable that it doesn’t run in a straight line at 30mph without two hands grappling the wheel…

    4. So – do we need a “two hands on the wheel at all times” rule to prevent 4X WDCs from driving into other cars?

      1. Bearing in mind the number of times any F1 driver removes one hand from the steering wheel during a single lap to adjust brake balance, pu modes, radio button etc. I just can’t believe he swerved into Hamilton “accidentally” through only having one hand on the wheel.

    5. If his right hand wasn’t on the wheel, where was it? Surely if his hand had not been on the wheel he’d have used it as part of his gesticulating as he did with both hands when he was behind Hamilton. It seems very likely his right hand WAS on the wheel. Added to the fact the his trajectory into the side of Hamilton was straight and true and no sudden “wobble”, for a 4 times world champion with 10 years’ experience at low speeds, the notion that he “lost control” is inconceivable. It was categorically deliberate.

  13. Ok, so I’m a bit confused – Yes Vettel should have been black flagged, and should at least have his points taken away form baku or given a one race ban…

    Moving on, What exactly has Ferrari done besides not talk to the press?

    Are they insulting people? Being rude in the paddock? What else are they doing besides not talking to the press that is getting people so worked up about them?

    How does one infer: “… completely devoid of any grace, charm or humility…” If they are not saying anything?

    They must be doing something else. Surly just having a press blackout cannot generate such ire?.

      1. I know this is futile, but mr. Joe, looking at the comments it seems that there are still sime things you and some more journalists dont understand.

          1. Well I am sure I do not, but I usually try to understand the story from all avaible aspects.

            Why did ferrari opt for silenzio stampa? There has to be a reason, dont you think?

      2. Is it really so? Obviously the press doesn’t like this situation. If the press really represented fans, that would mean that the fans don’t like the situation either. And this is something that can easily be checked. Are number of Ferrari fans dwindling every race? Are there less Ferrari flags and more banners against them? Have sales of their merchandise slowed down, not to mention cars? Is there even a possibility that in case fans are not displaying their displeasure that they actually don’t give a toss how their team is treating media? Just thinking loud…

            1. With social media one gets a much better idea of the questions being asked, so I believe mny statement remains true. You can hope for direct engageemtn but what you get is not real. The F1 journalists get in there and get the real stuff.

            2. DC – I say this with no disrespect to your good self but my money would be on Joe having a better idea of which questions the fans want asking, than you do.

              Perhaps what you mean is that he’s asking questions you’d rather he didn’t?

              That’s hardly the same thing mate.

              Joe has a very active social media relationship with many fans, I suspect he’s pretty well abreast of what they’re interested in.

              1. Paulvinho – if I thought otherwise I would try to get his job.
                But reality is that there are millions of Ferrari fans out there all over the world who don’t give a damn what Joe or anyone else for that matter writes about their team, and if you look at number of flags, caps etc at most of the races, you will see that this group of people is a very big proportion of general F1 audience. And neither Joe Saward, James Allen nor most of other respected F1 writers can make a claim that they represent them, but you cannot exclude these people from F1 fan base just because they are Ferrari fans first and foremost.
                This situation is probably unique to Ferrari, but because of this Ferrari is in position where they can allow themselves to ignore the media in a way that Force India for example certainly cannot. They measure their popularity by merchandise sales and possibly number of their supporters at race tracks. If the numbers are increasing, in their book they are doing things right, simple as that.
                Why is it so difficult to try and see things from the other perspective?

      3. I guess I don’t.

        If they won’t talk to anyone, just no-platform them.

        No comment to the press – no comments about them in the media.

        What fans are contacting the press and urging them to hand the team its arse on a plate?

        Where is the urge to retaliate for silence coming from?

        I frequent a few fan forums, and have not seen a call to excoriate Ferrari for their bit of Omerta playacting.

        Where is the need to go after them them in the press coming from?

        As a fan I read the (good) press because they have inside access to information that I could never get.

        But if someone won’t talk (Kimi) then they won’t talk. Such is life. I can see no reason to go after them guns blazing.

  14. They gave Romain Grosjean a 1 race ban after his Spa antics so there is precedent for this. While this resulted in a more dramatic accident than what happened in Baku, you could argue that Vettel’s wheel banging was worse.

    Grosjean’s driving was reckless/careless – however Vettel’s conduct was wilful and deliberate contact with another car, which should arguably carry a more severe penalty. If anything, it brings the sport into disrepute and the negative message it sends to the fans. Not to mention the terrible precedent it sets for how stewards adjudicate future incidents.

      1. It seems to me the most similar previous incident is that of Dan Ticktum in the Silverstone MSA Formula race a couple of years back. MSA handed him a 1 year ban from motorsport…

      1. What kind of racing do you want F1 to have?

        “Rubbin’ is Racin'” and “Boys have at it”. Does not work for open wheel open cockpit formula cars.

        As a Vettel fan the 10 second penalty was not what is needed. – Black Flag. Period.

        You really have to nip this type of thing in the bud.

        Do I think that what Vettel did was intentional in the Schumacher/Senna sense?


        But Seb is a hothead behind the wheel. His emotional filter gets turned off when he puts on a racing helmet.

        He had a F#@King meltdown that threw away a win.

        An Joe is right, he hasn’t gotten slapped down enough earlier to learn his lesson.

        A continual failing of the FIA with many instances.

        Losing the Baku points and a one race ban would make the point.

    1. Vettel’s conduct was worse IMO. As you say, Nick, Grosjean’s driving was reckless/careless and downright dangerous – but it was not actually deliberate. Vettel’s conduct in Baku was fully intentional. I believe it does indeed bring the sport into disrepute, and Vettel is already effectively under a suspended sentence for bringing the sport into disrepute following his disgusting remarks to Charlie Whitting at Mexico 2016. Vettel thinks he can never do any wrong and that he’s untouchable. He’s gotten away with so much in the past either without punishment or with lenient punishment. He needs knocking down a peg or 10 and needs to properly face the consequences of his actions.

  15. At last – the voice of reason. It was exactly Road Rage and needs much more than a 10 sec penalty. A one race ban would be the right thing or taking those race points away – either is preferable. Petulant brat.

  16. Joe – this is (1) rather off-topic and (2) you do not allow links. But all of this talk brought back to mind (somehow) some of the best 5 minutes of motorsport ever recorded. Oh yes – it was the FIA unsuccessful challenger to one J. Todt who’s driving this car. Every fan should watch this; remove the link from comments if you will, but show it to the world! Thanks.

    1. Bloody nora. That’s a long way down. I would say it has relevance, showing, as it does, that a decent driver can steer effectively with one hand.

  17. can Vettel be punished twice ? so far as Ferrari go, no surprise to me – apparently if you try and buy a new car from them you have no chance unless you are on their ‘list’ and have owned/purchased Ferraris in the recent past. I believe you live in France, so perhaps you can get a French journo/photographer to give an honest appraisal as well of their behaviour towards you guys – otherwise its all Anglo in the negative..

    1. Your response is insulting. If you cannot imagine people who are capable of thinking beyond nationalism, then it is more a reflection on you than on us.

      1. Sorry Joe, not meaning to be insulting at all – just that you said “Ferrari fans will no doubt write rude remarks about the British media” so would’nt it be a good rebut if there some non English journo’s or photographers to air similar thoughts about the behaviour of Ferrari ? that is all that I meant. Please don’t come back and hit me for six again…

        1. In my opinion those who think nationality makes a difference are just not very clever and accusing me of such things is an insult to my intelligence.

  18. If they alter their decision it will seriously undermine F1 as a sport.

    Track stewards are like referees, it’s on them to make decisions during the actual event. If the penalty is deemed wrong post-event, the blame lays with the incompetent stewarding team, who should receive better training.

    Now, if they actually change race/championship results because of whining from some of the involved parties and – gasp – members of the specialized media, then it’s a clear message that F1 is steadfastly heading towards reality television rather than a proper sport.

    If the governing body needs to correct any official decision days after the event, it only proves how incompetent the stewards are at the actual race. Worse, it sets a very iffy precedent, effectively putting them in the position of clowns making suggestions, rather than ‘referees’ with the authority to enforce rules. Who is going to respect race stewards when they know anything can be argued later? Very quickly it will become a case of who can cry most, and louder. (Hamilton currently beats the rest of the grid & paddock on this one by a country mile…)

    IF this is truly a PR issue, and IF the FIA are *so* worried about repercussions with road safety and the little children, they should make Vettel do some public anti road rage campaigns, and fine him if he doesn’t. There, that gets the whole politically correct spectacle BS out of the way, and appeases politicians and lawyers by reinforcing their manufactured responsibility to advocate for a safer world through an inherently unsafe sporting activity. It also gets a guy in a red suit clowning around in front of reporters, satiating their desire to be pandered to by a key member of a sports organization whose only job is to win races.

    Referees/stewards need to get things right when they happen, it’s their responsibility to lay out punishment on site, during the event, and it is the sportsmen’s responsibility to accept that, whether they like it or not. If the decision turns out to be wrong, it’s on the backs of the stewards who did a crap job. Better luck next time.

    Luck plays its part in winning or losing championships. Shitty ref calls are part of the game. Any serious sport takes that for granted. Let the fans and reporters bitch and/or gloat about it. It makes the whole thing more exciting – and real.

      1. It’s not only the TMO decision during the game in rugby that can alter the punishment. Post match, players can get cited for incidents that have already been already dealt with by the referee,and also incidents that got missed (tackling off the ball is a favourite).
        Punishment is meted out following a judicial review and is additional to anything during the game. It can include suspension for a number of matches, especially if the foul play was regarded as dangerous…

        (Was Seb tackling off the ball?)

      2. We don’t get much rugby in Brazil, so no. We get a lot of football here though, and refs get stuff wrong all the time – par for the course. They’re the ones who carry the burden of responsibility, later. Get things wrong enough times as a referee and you lose your job. The sport goes on, unfair, like life.

  19. I believe Vettel needs to be docked a race., maybe two…actually three. His actions were totally deplorable. Not sure about Ferrari at the moment, however, what it all boils down to is that F1 Grand Prix racing is entertainment. Sure, anyone can argue all sorts of points, hither and yawn, but in the end, it’s entertainment. Someone flipping on their TV has a choice of watching an F1 race, tennis, soccer, or baseball. They want to be entertained.In such circumstances, F1 needs to put it’s best foot forward. Vettel’s conduct in Baku was akin to that of complete amateurism. For the good of the sport, dock him between one and three races. Vettel has been a loose cannon for over a year now.poor sportsmanship has no business in F1. It’s high time the FIA grew a pair and stood up and set a precident, for once. There’s a difference between right and wrong, and the FIA’s time to do that, is now.

  20. It would seem to be incumbent on Ferrari and F1 most recognizable ( and best rewarded for that fact by the payout structure ) to do more than just race. But it is theirs to do as they wish and also to pay a price for that.

    It would be a pity ( and no doubt a source of endless recriminations and argument ) if Vettel was docked points or banned for a race which decided a Championship.

  21. Coincidentally mr. Heath also comments “you reap what you sow” regarding Ferrari. But i guess that could be applied to the journalists also, Ferrari was treated badly in media to such extent that they obviously decided to put a clampdown on media relations. I dont agree with the decision, but it is their decision, and atleast media could respect it.

    Interestingly i didnt watch the race until monday. Reading all the articles and comments, i expected tv commentators going nuts when the incident happened. But they did not. I think karun chandkok gave a nice chuckle when he saw a video. It was a stupid move. But it was not life threatening like Hamilton would like to show it.

    Media cries all the time about lack of emotion in F1, but the second any driver shows some, he gets blasted.

    Vettel got a penalty in race, he served it. Lets be serious here, had Hamilton not gotten loose headrest, there would be alot less noise in media.

        1. ~I would be staggered if the race stewards disagree…….but with the close position in the WDC they would be nervous of making a decision that interfered with that …….let the FIA do their job!

          the stewards don’t want to lose their jolly …they are human , after all

  22. Who is the architect of Ferrari’s current attitude to the press? Arrivabene or Marchionne?

  23. Insightful as ever, Joe. It is well overdue that driver misbehaviour on the track was tackled by the FIA. It could be argued that drivers (who are seen as setting examples to road users) bring the sport into disrepute with some of their ruder hand gestures. This is more a product of the age that we live rather than a personally held belief (I hark back to James Hunt shaking his fist at Patrick Depailler on the track in Monaco).

  24. Vettel has history as well.

    The Weber collision in Turkey 2010 for example, was sheer frustration that he couldn’t get past Weber … who was leading the championship at the time. Reminds me of Trump. Makes an error, then blames everyone else. Who else might it remind me of? Oh yes, Schumacher.

    1. Vettel ploughed into Webber under the safety car at Fuji in 2007 also costing Red Bull a chance of a first victory.

      “Driving without due care and attention” covers the initial hit (10s penalty?); as for aggressive gesticulation (one view) or deliberate ramming (another view) who knows? Vettel would have helped himself a lot by not playing the victim in Mexico or Baku.

        1. Oh, come on Joe, why don’t you call it an attempted murder and demand that he be tried in court for that?
          If Vettel properly rammed into Hamilton or even had attention to do so, at least one of the cars would have been pushed of the track, sustained damage, not be able to complete the race etc. In reality it was a slow-speed wheel to wheel bump that should have not happened, especially considering it comes from a four-time WC. He deserved to be punished for this stupid error of judgment and he was punished.

          1. There is a concept here that you seem not to be able to grasp… This suggests that you 1) don’t want to grasp it and are simply being a troll, or 2) that you are not clever enough to grasp it. I don’t know which it is, but I am wasting my time in either case.

            1. 1) Not a troll. 2) You allow yourself to fall down that low to call other people stupid just ’cause they don’t agree with you? And how exactly is this behavior less childish from Vettel’s?

              1. I am not calling you ignorant. I said that there are two possibilities and you are saying you’re not a troll…

  25. I am a fan of both Lewis and Seb. Lewis seems to be sliding into the role of elder statesman with great ease. Whereas Seb seems to seriously losing the plot.

    I was not happy when he laid into Kyviat after their coming together, then Max seemed to the centre of his ire. The tirade at Charlie last year should have been the final straw, but he got away with a simple apology.

    I do not think that his sideswipe in Baku was deliberate, just negligent. But pulling out of file and drawing alongside to gesticulate was completely wrong.

    I was very unhappy at just how long it took the stewards to reach their decision given the blatant act and given the red flag. He should have served the stop-go on the restart lap as a minimum – effectively demoted to the back of the grid. He should have been apologising to anyone who would listen, but he could not believe he had done anything wrong after the race, thinking he had been wrongly penalised.

    Joe has been telling us for a long time that the Ferrari PR are too remote. It seems Seb’s issues may stem from their self-imposed exile from the realities of the world, as it exists today.

    I do agree that a race ban could ruin what is looking like a pretty good season-long battle, but Liberty must not try to influence.

    Last Wednesday I watched the life of an 18-year old fritter away after a road accident. Road safety is important. Road-rage needs to be seen as the failed state of mind that it is.

  26. In my opinion the penalty applied to Vettel was not sufficient. I expect the FIA to ban him for one race.

    One question which should be addressed is why race stewards elected to apply a 10 second stop go instead of a black flag in the first place? Are they sufficiently empowered to make these calls?

    A media savvy team can still turn this story into a positive. If Vettel does receive a ban, Giovinazzi will likely take his seat, placing an Italian in a Ferrari for the first time since 2009. Giovinazzi is familiar with the Red Bull Ring and other circuits coming up on the calendar, he will likely perform well. The narrative can be changed to Kimi and Antonio battling for a seat with the team in 2018.

    1. Race stewards are supposed to sanction driver based only on actions in a particular race without going into his previous behavior. Without trying to defend Vettel because obviously he should have been punished for his actions and it is only a question of what is right punishment for the crime. In this case mitigating circumstances were that he obviously did not hit Hamilton with intention of hurting him or taking him out of the race – please see one of my comments above. It is not only 10sec stop and go but also 3 points on the licence, which bring Vettel (now this is thanks to his behavior over the last 12 months) into a situation that he is very close to a race-ban if not very careful. Again, some former drivers like Martin Brundle, Jackie Stewart, Jacques Villeneuve, or indeed Danny Sullivan (who was one of the stewards) and today also Button are all of the opinion that the punishment given in Baku is about right for the crime, though Joe Saward obviously disagrees.
      Another topic all together is Vettel’s behavior in general when things are not going his way and that has been well documented from the days of Red-Bull and racing against Webber to his more recent rants against Kvyat, Massa, Charlie Whiting etc. Vettel needs to find a way of controlling his emotions when in the car and it needs to be made clear to him that such childish, petulant behavior cannot be tolerated any more.

  27. It’s a shame British journalists are getting this so wrong. They may want to protect their beloved Lewis because he’s British right? So that must be the right thing to do. They may also want revenge on Ferrari for daring to treat the press with such disregard recently.

    Yet they seem oblivious to the fact that many of their (British and other) readers couldn’t care less about Lewis. He’s the spoilt brat who seemingly throws his toys out the pram almost every race weekend. Ferrari are still probdbly the most popular team there is. We finally have a title race involving a non-merc driver and British media are attempting to influence an end to it.

    What they fail to realise is just how many Brits will turn their backs on the sport if the title race is decided by politics – especially if it’s media created politics. I guess the media can somehow live without the readers/viewers.

    1. Those who see this as a nationalism issue are insulting those who are simply trying to judge the issue for what it is. Nationalism is not something that intelligent people get caught up in, and thus the accusation of such things reflects on the accuser more than on the accused – and it is an insult. If you cannot understand these concepts, don’t try any crosswords…

      1. So your rant is purely due to your current hate for Ferrari then. Ok.

        Either way, you’re not considering that your opinion does not represent the fans and is not in the best interests of the sport.

          1. Surprised Maldonado hasn’t had a mention – the last deliberate collision which was after the race has ended.

      2. Joe nationalism is rampant in the British press (and Europe in general), try to find an article that doesn’t include the Mexican, German, Brit in the description of a driver. I find it hard to believe that there is suddenly no nationalist leanings when there is an issue.

          1. I did not mean to imply you were (although I realize now I did), I think you represent the balance journalist should have.

    2. Lewis is a “spoiled brat who seemingly throws his toys out of the pram every weekend”

      I don’t doubt that you actually believe this but it tells me much more about you than it does about him.

    3. Dear me, you really are deluded DC. Of course he meant to hit him, it was a deliberate swerve. The anti Hamilton folks and pro Vettel camp are so obvious on here. A deliberate swerve and contact that was enough to bounce his car up in the air deserves a black flag, and further investigation after the race.

      My reading of what happened. Hamilton backed up the pack, played the game in trying to get the jump at the restart (as he’s allowed to do within reason, and no F1 racer would ever cede this advantage willingly, you learn it in karts and pretty much all rolling restarts in car racing), Vettel was trying to stay close, got caught out as was not watching, and ran in back of Hamilton. Vettel lost the plot, went alongside and deliberately hit Hamilton.

      In karting you’d be black flagged, and depending on Clerk of the Course you may be excluded from the meeting entirely.

      Again my thought – disqualification from Baku, and a strong incentive to behave for the balance of the season – suspended ban if decided before Silverstone, additional points on license to keep him near the threshold if decided after Silverstone (where he’ll drop license penalty points).

      Whatever, I cannot wait to until their next on-track racing encounter. It’s going to be spicy to say the least, and I hope it’s at Silverstone at some of the real fast corners.

  28. I think it was a howling error by the stewards not to black flag Seb as soon as he started banging into people on purpose.
    No one should be allowed on a track unless they can control their temper. Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward spring to mind ( RIP Kevin)

    Now the FIA are in the horns of a dilemma. Alrhough if it was any other driver in the field it would be a no brainer. Imagine if it had been Stroll or Verstappen doing that kind of thing. They would be sitting at home now wondering which channel to watch the next two races on…

  29. I watch a lot of single seater racing and in any of the lower formulas that would have been a black flag. Probably within 2 laps. No dithering, no taking into account the championship, or the outcome of the manoeuvre, deliberate dangerous driving would have the driver off the track.

    The people saying that a punishment will alter the championship battle, they will still be close in points Vettel just possibly loses his lead in the fight, he’s not out of it. I tend to lean more towards a Baku DSQ, anger management classes and some road safety campaign work on road rage. A race ban may be a tad too harsh.

    This shouldn’t be a question of Hamilton fans v Vettel fans, regardless of which driver it was and what little impact it had. Intentionally hitting another car under non race conditions is unforgivable.

    Remember, at this point the lead car is for all intents and purposes the safety car. If a driver smashed into the side of Maylanders car there would be no one arguing against a harsh punishment.

  30. It was a deliberate move. It needs a penalty tougher than a stop go.

    Vettel should fulfill his commitments to F1 fans (and media) by participating in Austria. As a marshal.

    He can then watch Kimi and Giovanazzi defend his points, before coming back refreshed and dominant for the second half of the season …..a la Vettel of old.

    1. If Giovinazzi was put in Vettel’s car, you can bet it would be loaded with penalties, so Vettel does not have to take them later.

  31. I utterly agree – comparison to a headbutt on a football pitch or bite in a rugby maul is highly relevant. Either of these would result in an instant sending off, possibly a ban if there was a pattern of behavior. It really is as simple as that, and a similar principle should apply.

    Fans love to assume that drivers “didn’t intend to do something” when they dislike the implications – these are the best racing divers in the world, they don’t collide while driving @ 50mph accidentally.

    My only difficulty with a second penalty, Joe, is the concept of double jeopardy – I know this isn’t a criminal court but is there any validity in the idea that a penalty has already been given? On the other hand I accept that the system should own up when it makes a mistake – in this case the wrong penalty, but I can’t quite square the circle.

  32. As far as I am aware Vettel has stuck to his guns and the last public announcement was that he had done nothing wrong or at least he had matched his imagined infraction against him.

    I think that is what has forced Todt’s hands together with a public consensus that Vettel got away lightly.

    There is a simple solution – 3 penalty points for hitting the rear of Hamilton (and not acknowledging his mistake publicly accusing Hamilton of dangerous driving) and 3 penalty points for the collision. It allows the points system to be seen to work. Alternatively they can fall back on their previous warning if they feel Ferarri might get litigious.

    1. Litigious? You sign up and agree to accept the rules and the FIA decisions, unless they are procedurally flawed.

      1. More thinking how in the Moseley days it seemed to be a room full of barristers rather than a committee of knowledgeable sportsmen and something might rest on a careful interpretation of wording rather than a just decision. Fortunately I think the FIA have plenty of scope to work with as there were 2 incidents not one and the prior warning on behaviour.

        Elsewhere someone suggested this might be about teaching a lesson as if this was a bad thing. Clearly Seb needs a lesson in how to behave and his unapologetic response is a warning to the FIA that his ego is more out of control than before.

        1. If the FIA did this any way other than with qualified people you would all be screaming about the organisation being amateur…

  33. In my opinion and obviously everyone has their own and is entitled to their own, but I believe Vettel should be disqualified from the Baku results and be handed a one race ban for the next race. It is simply not correct for a four time World Champion to behave in this way. Accident or not, he should have put his hands up and accepted blame.

  34. Nice to read all these polemics on the Red! This shows Ferrari is finally back again, scariing Brithish as it used to be in the past years.

      1. ” (apart from a few sycophants and some Italians who only see red) ” very good point Joe! I am not judging, just being impressed on how many words you are spending on a normal fact in a normal race. Did you forget Piquet punching Salazar at the Germany GP ’82? Or the beloved Hunt at Montecarlo? All this makes the history of motorsport.

  35. I have to agree with Martin Brundle’s assessment, that the 10 second stop/go penalty was sufficient. I just don’t see what was dangerous about the incident. Stupid and childish yes, but where’s the danger?

    The penalty cost Vettel the race and the 3 penalty points put him at risk if a ban. I’m sure Ferrari weren’t too impressed either…

    I also don’t see why the Ferrari press ban is being brought up here, surely the upset press and the investigation are entirely separate issues… one should not affect the other.

    1. Read the post again. It is quite clear what is being said. Ferrari won’t get media support. Simple.

      1. So basically what you are saying is that even should Ferrari make a fair point that wouldn’t het any support by the media because the media feels hard done by the way Ferrari goed about its (PR) business this year? Really?
        Talking about petulance and throwing your toys out of the pram. I would expect you and others to separate those issues and report why you feel their current PR stance is wrong, I would not expect you to let that PR stance cloud your judgement. I thought you were bigger that that but apparently I was wrong.

        1. No, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that ferrari will want support now and will not get it. If they say senesible things there is no reason to make a fuss. It’s all about subtleties that obviously fly over the heads of some readers

    2. Where’s the danger? The danger is in the kids in lower formula looking up to a four-time World Champion driver and thinking it’s OK to take the law into your own hands on the track. Or even worse, people doing it on the road.

  36. Thank you for this post Joe – in this post-truth world it’s good to see someone pointing out actual facts to support an argument.
    The Vettel apologists make a number of ridiculous points, but I’ll comment on just two.

    The first is that the sideswipe happened at relatively slow speeds, so it doesn’t matter because it wasn’t dangerous. Apart for the psychology of someone using a car as a weapon, Vettel could have easily damaged the front wishbone on his or Hamilton’s car. Had a wishbone failed on the 2km Baku straight charming Seb’s actions could, quite realistically, have resulted in serious injury or worse for him, Hamilton or other competitors caught up in a high speed crash.

    Second, the claim that Vettel lost control of the car because he was driving one handed. Honestly – when I see people claiming this I know this is either the first F1 race they have ever seen or have mental health issues that need professional treatment. I have been watching F1 since the early 1970’s. In that time I’ve seen some bizarre things, such as David Couthard crashing on the formation lap at Monza in ‘95, but I have never, ever, seen a driver pull alongside another and “lose control” of their car at 50km an hour in a straight line, because they were only using one hand. If that was “a thing” the slowdown lap at the end of a race would be carnage, with drivers waving congratulations to each other only to bounce into the vehicle beside them.

    I was shocked last year when Seb escaped a race ban for the long and foul tirade against Charlie Whiting. If F1 wants to be taken seriously as a sport it needs to have similar fundamental rules to other recognised sports. Top of that list are basic issues such as not abusing officials and not attacking fellow competitors.

    Anyone who thinks this is an issue about supporting one driver against another, nationalism or media bias has a deeply disturbing worldview.

  37. I was interested in Jacques Villeneuve’s view, in short, good to see some passion. I understand your view Joe but I feel the punishment should take place at the race not afterwards by committee. If the FIA delegate discipline at the races to the stewards then they should stand by the their decisions not attempt to overrule at the first convenient, in Jodt’s case, opportunity. The horse has bolted. Had Lewis’s head rest been properly attached and he had won I doubt if we would be still talking about it in such a heated fashion.

    1. Stephen: I agree that passion for the sport is good, but passion overriding common sense is not, especially when it involves using a car as a weapon to channel that passion. ‘The punishment should fit the crime’, and Vettel had a warning last year about a repeat loss of control, so he shouldn’t be surprised that further action is being considered.

      1. Let’s be honest Peter, it was a very low speed accident. One could say the speed is irrelevant, but is it? I’m not saying he was right only that stewards are there on behalf of the FIA otherwise every decision they make is from now on irrelevant to be decided at a later stage by committee – surely we don’t want that? It’s likely now the title fight will be spoilt. It was shaping up so nicely as well…..

        1. Speed is very relevant here. If we talk about road-rage we can as well use some other every day analogy: In many big cities in other European countries, France being a prime example, it is normal to use your bumpers against other cars whilst getting into a parking space. Nobody would call it a car accident, nobody would find anything unusual. If you do the same at 50kph (30mph), your insurance will hear from the other party and police may get involved.

          1. Speed is not relevant, just as the force of a head butt is not the problem. It is the act itself – and what caused it.

            1. I have to say that I don’t like the reference to a head butt, mainly from the point of view of motor racing being in principle above that level. I don’t think either Seb or Lewis would have resorted to physical fighting although, as you know Joe, there has been plenty of that in the past – I’m thinking of Mansell putting Senna up against the wall in the pits, Piquet v Salazar (Hockenheim I think – that was a good one) and so forth. Some people do use cars like weapons on the road where they wouldn’t confront the other driver physically, so maybe it’s a ‘virtual’ head butt – even then…… I think the speed relevant as I don’t believe Seb would have carried out the ‘act’ at a dangerous speed whereas it was certainly easier at low speed. He’s surely not of the same mentality of a Schumacher who tried to put Rubens into the pit wall?

                1. Agreed. In footballing terms a headbutt is a good analogy. And so is a two-footed, leg-breaking tackle that only gets a yellow card. In those circumstances, if the referee has seen the offence and sanctioned it, but that sanction is not deemed sufficient by the regulatory body, then a panel sits and decides on the correct punishment that should have been applied. That is exactly what is happening now.

                  1. There are already guidelines set out, they were applied. As I see it, in Austria Lewis only has to pretend to ‘bump’ into Seb in the paddock somewhere, jokingly, and the whole thing could be resolved there and then, as it normally is. Let them sort it out, we don’t need the Spanish Inquisition. It’ll ruin this year’s championship if the suits get involved.

    2. Any F1 fan knows that Villeneuve will always take a contrary and controversial view to get himself airtime/column inches. It’s his favourite game. His view is about as relevant as that of Bernie or Briatore.

      1. I would say that being a former title holder gives his views more than a little extra credence?

  38. For me the key thing is FIA promoting road safety ……. but leaving one car to deliberately drive into another is surely unacceptable. I also feel there is too big a gap between 10 second stop/go and disqualification. Jean Todt has so many options to consider. Personally, I would like him to be put at the back of grid for Austria which will cost him points and lead to a lot of overtaking.

    1. Nah, I think that’s too weak. The top 2 (3) teams are so far ahead that he would be in the top 8 by 30% distance with a decent chance of a podium.

      I was thinking about a more severe licences endorsement but that’s only a penalty of you have a few in the bag already so it doesn’t really deter a one off road rage. it would hit VET quite hard though as he has form.

  39. It is difficult to imagine that Herr Vettel is suffering from anguish and moral dilemmas as a result of this, otherwise he would apologise and make a sizeable donation to the road safety campaign – unless he is prevented from doing so by the friendly PR people. This would be a shame as every F1 fan loves Ferrari if only a little and through admiration confused with hatred and thus, it is sometimes tough to love a stroppy grandfather who should know better.

  40. I cannot see how any rational person can see how Vettel’s behaviour can be accepted.

    With regards to bias well Jean Todt is French so we’ll see how this plays out!

    1. Vettel’s behavior cannot be accepted. The only question is if the sentence fits the crime and that’s what all this long discussion is about.

      1. Joe’s piece was titled Crime & Punishment. The crime was committed at Baku, he should probably have been DSQ’d at Baku, so the best solution for the Championship would be for him to lose his points from Baku.

        The 3-points on his license should be upheld to help him sort his head out.

        A race ban, or starting from the back, will tend to offset the timing of the crime and its punishment, particularly if Ferrari try to defend the indefensible and then appeal.

        As Joe has alluded to Ferrari need to get a grip. Hold up their hands and say what he did was wrong and for Seb to tell anyone who will listen just how sorry he is about this very sad affair.

  41. In 1982 in Hockenheim Nelson Piquet actually punched another player on the nose (well on the helmet…) . I don’t remember anyone from the press (even the british one) asking for any kind of punishment (race bans or others).
    Things change, I guess…

    1. Well, actually you have a great point there Andrea Barbolini. Piquet was clearly livid with anger. But he punched the guy out of the car. Senna was angry at Schumacher, so tried to confront him in the pitlane, outside of the car. Schumacher was angry at DC and tried to have a go at him once they got out of the car.

      All of that shows that these drives were leaving their anger bursts for when they got OUT of their racign cars, because they were quite aware that doing it WITH the car was not a good idea at all, despite their anger.

      Vettel however let the red mist come down, and had a proper fit of road rage. Maybe he even means it when he ignores them having made contact, because the rage blurred his memory, who knows. But that clearly is NOT behaviour that belongs on any race track at all.

    2. I also mentioned this but now (who knows why) things are changed.
      In the 80s, F1 had brave drivers like Hunt, Piquet, Mansell, Villeneuve.. This is what made F1 great.
      Today F1 is a school for taxi drivers where you get a fine if you drive aggressive or you do not respect the right of way. Not to be mentioned all those people who earn money barking obstinately about this for weeks. We should question whether this is a good thing for the motorsport.

  42. Personally I have no doubt that Seb knows a race ban is coming. This latest momentary lapse on his part is part of why we watch the top level athletes and track their every move, looking for chinks in their psychological armour. Basic instincts come out under pressure and how do champions deal with them at 200mph? It is all there on the in-car. Forza F1.

  43. I sincerely hope the FIA do decide to impose a more suitable penalty on Vettel. That they have already taken so long without doing so is a discredit to their road safety message. The stewards were very weak in Baku in allowing Vettel to take the restart. He was clearly in a dangerous mental state and a repeat of his petulance at e.g. 330km/h on the long straight could have been catastrophic and, one would imagine, have left the FIA open to legal action.

    I suggest a suitable penalty would be, at a minimum, a one race ban effective immediately (i.e. for Austria). Lessons need to be taught and Vettel’s complete, and repeated, lack of acknowledgement of the side-swipe in post-race interviews is quite remarkable. His credentials should be revoked for the Austria GP weekend and re-instated for Silverstone where he can face the music.

    It is saddening to hear how distant Ferrari are from the media. Quite apart from what the FIA may or may not choose to do I would hope that Ferrari themselves are sanctioning Vettel in some way. I would argue that they have the weakest driver pairing of any top team and as Joe regularly points out F1 constitutes Ferrari’s advertising budget. Ideally drivers inspire admiration and aspiration from their fans. I doubt many potential supercar buyers out there would admire or aspire to be Sebastian Vettel right now.

    Finally, as far as the stewards not wanting to intervene in the championship is concerned, I find that wholly lacking in any sens of responsibility. That Vettel could emerge from last weekend with an increased points lead is indigestible to this and many other long-term F1 fans.

  44. On any Go-Kart circuit if circulating under yellows and you deliberatly pulled alongside and banged into another competitor you would be black flagged immediately.

    Why should it be any different for Vettel.?

    A 10sec stop & go sends out the wrong signal to kids that they could do that and still stay on the track.

  45. Vettel committed three offences. Hitting the lead car under safety car/yellow flag conditions, overtaking the safety car under yellow flag, deliberately driving his car into the safety car. For all three of these serious offences, he received a 10 second stop/go, which simply isn’t enough, and doesn’t give any meaningful punishment. The stewards failed, and it’s right that the FIA should look again at the issue, especially given Vettel’s history of infractions.

    You could also argue his attitude and subsequent statements are bringing the sport into disrepute. Vettel should have been disqualified, banned for one race, and three points on his superlicence. There should be zero tolerance for this kind of behaviour, and if the stewards had given the right punishment in the first place, this would not have blown up into the FIA having to look at it some more.

  46. Vettel already has a suspended penalty for his disrespectful behaviour in Mexico, so clearly there is enough reason to turn it into a real penalty after his disrespectful behaviour in Baku.

    If not excluded from the race in Baku I expect him also to get a race ban for the next race.

  47. A four times world champion cannot control an f1 car at 50kph on a straight one handed? I think not! This was a clear intent, and why it was wheel to wheel not wheel to bodywork!
    I think a neat solution for FIA would be to revise the penalty points applied from 3 to 6 plus a big fine. This would put him on 12 points and so an automatic race ban. when served he will race at Britain on 10 points, still close to the edge for d few races. any more misdemeanours would result in another race ban. Baku race results remain, Vettel serves a race ban, FIA do not appear to heavy handed but send the signal that his actions were not acceptable!

  48. Three days after, are we in possession of somewhat convincing evidence that Vettel did it deliberately? And if so, where is it? Rather looks it´s the other way round. Who was or is racing himself knows that if you want to hit a driver beside you deliberately you normally keep both hands on the steering wheel. Vettel visibly had one hand in the air. And he was not waving goodbye to the crowd but in a state of rage which is comprehensible. Secondly, obviously you don´t know that the Baku track on that spot is slightly gradient to the outside to drain the water in case of heavy rainfall. So the inertia, the unawareness of Seb and the waving added to that incident.

    There are two basic principles of penal law: “Ne bis in idem” and “nulla poena sine culpa.” As long there is no evidence a person has to be considered as innocent. And if the race stewards considered the 10 seconds plus 3 penal points as sufficient you need rather good arguments to overrule the decision. You may ask Riccardo Patrese what he is thinking about that.

    Meanwhile, the majority in paddock seems to share the opinion that It was a foolhardy manouvre, but case should be closed with the race weekend. Last opinion I heard was from Nico Hülkenberg. who states that the punishment is Ok, but also the reaction of Vettel, whose passion makes him a spitfire sometimes. “Emotions belong to motor racing”.

    Last word, you don´t have to be Sherlock Holmes to detect that some comments are of course Hamilton-biased. May I ask you what you are thinking about Hammy´s legendary Monaco 2011 performance and the fact that for an appropriate punishment we are still waiting for?

    1. @MistralMike……you have to be joking, right?

      Kind of lost for words after those first 2 paragraphs…..almost as ridiculous as the muppet earlier talking about VET dropping his shoulder. Give yourself an uppercut.
      Denial is denial I guess.

      @ Joe- I don’t know how you do it mate

      1. No I don’t. As much as Jackie Stewart does. But I don’t give a dam about what you fandoll say.

    2. Evidence that Vettel did it deliberately =

      1) He had one hand on the steering wheel

      2) The trajectory towards Hamilton’s car after he move to the left of it was straight and true to the right – there was no last minute “wobble” which might possibly have otherwise indicated his hand was off the steering wheel

      3) Vettel was travelling at very low speed. With 4 championships and 10 years’ experience under his belt.

      Any notion that it was accidental are either lies or dillusion

  49. Im not sure why people keep describing Vettel’s actions as intent, only Vettel knows what he did or did not intend in that moment, and he isnt sharing that information currently, so we have only got our opinions and suppositions to fill the gaps. Consequently we might often conclude different things and have different opinions, it doesnt mean everyone who disagrees with you is wrong, or as one commentor has put “has mental issues” which is really uncalled for IMO, people can and should be expected to have different opinions and view situations differently and none of what anyone thinks is actually “facts”.

    fwiw my opinion of the incident was Vettels road rage, and whether Hamilton was actually slower out of the corner than Vettel expected or not Im not sure is necessarily that important because Vettel couldnt stop the race at the time and check through umpteen replays frame by frame and telemetry data to check what happened, it was simply his belief that led to his next actions, though I dont think you have to apply the brakes to actually “brake test” people.

    But Vettels subsequent actions were just a very good example of target fixation, which is quite common in racing cars with racing car drivers, albeit far more common with motorcycle riders. where the driver becomes so fixated on a target, in this case wanting to remonstrate strongly with Hamilton, and becomes so busy focussing on that,they miss the imminent collision point they are driving towards, and end up colliding with the thing they were looking at, its called you drive where you are looking, which is far more of a problem on 2 wheels, but still very prevalent on 4 wheels.

    so I think he just mucked up, it happens, they arent robots, yes it would be nice of him to admit that, but whether thats worthy of a subsequent 1 race ban, I mean why just 1 race, why not 2 or 3 or for the rest of the season if you feel that strongly that its that against the pale and he needs to be taught a valuable lesson and raise driving standards and promote road safety. kick him out of the championship completely.

    but if the FIA do want to go down that route, will they be calling Ocon and Perez in for questioning too, because for me if you overtake another car, and its your team mates car at that, you dont squeeze them into a concrete wall at racing speeds, Perez had no room to move, Ocon knows the wall is there, knows the car is then and still doesnt leave enough room. Surely that falls under the same standards of the FIA needing to promote safe driving as Vettels.

  50. My reactions…………..
    At the time: early bath.
    At the penalty: they have got to be kidding.
    At the end of the race: rewarded for being a knob
    Now: amazed that some are saying this is OK

    Mr V has got some serious ego and anger challenges…… past and present.

  51. Got to laugh at all the explanations put forward for Vettels actions.Its like someone filling in an insurance form.
    He tried to tough it out by not even acknowledging it happened but it just made him look silly.
    No doubt we will see another one of his preemptive insincere grovelling apologies now.

  52. I’m just absolutely gob smacked how people are still arguing with what the video shows. Seriously, it’s just laughable.

    How did Hamilton manage to drive at 180-190 mph one handed, yet vettel cannot manage it at 50kph.

    Ferrari have been nothing but arrogant towards the media, the sport and it’s fans. Imagine if a football (soccer) team behaved like this.

  53. Well the thing is Ferrari remains Ferrari. They would still remain a brand for super rich. They would keep on selling their cars. The would still attract the best drivers to drive for them in F1. Really doesn’t matter how they treat media. Its life and we have to accept this.

      1. Thats right Joe. But who wants to be seen in good light these days ? Trump ? Re-moaners ? Alt right Brexiteers ? a bunch of homicidal maniacs who want to be portrayed as the representatives of the second largest religion in the world ? We are seeing extreme views on both sides of spectrum. Sanity is a trait of the past. Sorry didn’t want to go politics but everything seems so cynical these days.

  54. Was 10s stop/go enough? Would have been probably if there was an acknowledgement and apology after the race. Instead of that Vettel has only delivered tirade of attacks on Hamilton and has never ever mentioned driving into him.

  55. Just ban them both for a race: The breaktester and the sideswiper.
    Problem solved, justice done, everybody happy.

    1. How many times do you have to be told that there is no evidence of brake-testing (or even breaktesting!). Do you know better than the data available to the FIA? Just accept reality…

      1. Then don’t punish anyone, stop moaning around and move on.
        Problem solved, justice done, everybody happy.

          1. That’s right, I failed to take into account that they forgot Lewis’ 10 second stop and go penalty to punish both equally.
            Stupid me!

            1. That was not a punishment. Try to be informed if yo are going to take part in discussions here. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s ignorance.

                1. Lewis did not do anything wrong. Why would they punish him? You seem to have missed this rather importnt fact. The fact that his headrest came unstuck was not a punishment. It was probably finger trouble…

                  1. Lewis forgot to accelerate. Basically, did not do the predictable thing under safety car mode (= accelerate out of a corner).
                    Isn’t that a contradiction of non-erratic?

                    Do you think it’s a coincidence that several commentators (German and Belgian/Dutch spring to mind) during their live broadcasts thought this *was* a braketest?

                    The headrest was probably karma 🙂

                    1. Karma eh? Are you sure it wasn’t the Easter Bunny coming down from Heaven?

                    2. Who knows. Where I live bunnies come out of a hole in the ground. Maybe in Azerbaijan they come out of the sky or wherever the thing you call heaven is located.

                    3. You are not in a position to understand what happened at all. You are not in possession of the facts. Your opinion, is just that, an opinion. What you think should or should not happen is utterly irrelevant. The Sun will rise and set tomorrow regardless if you are around to see it. Your obtuse rationalisation of your version of the incident is fantasy based on ignorance before and after the facts.

                    4. It should be plainly obvious to everyone – Lewis in the final corner prior to the race restart needed to not accelerate as hard as previous laps, because this was a restart and needed to ensure he did not overtake the safety car. The FIA examined the telemetry of this restart and previous restarts earlier in the race, and found that Lewis’ acceleration in the final corner was consistent between race restarts. Lewis did nothing in this instance – Seb was not punished sufficiently.

  56. As a psychologist by trade the debate since Sunday has been a rather interesting replay of Hastorf and Cantril’s classic 1954 study on selective perception: “They saw a game” (look it up and read it. Well worth the time).

    The gist of the study was that supporters of two different teams did not really disagree about the _interpretation_ of events at a given game. Rather, they saw two entirely different games being played.

    The important lesson from works on selective perception is that while it certainly applies to the “other side” it equally applies to one’s own perception of the same situation. It not YOU who are biased and ME who is objective. It applies equally.

    So, in this case it seems that two different races DID occur. One where Hamilton brake-tested (perhaps by slowing down) Vettel, and one where Vettel deliberately rammed Hamilton.

    For what it is worth, I saw the first race. But I also get that this was the race that _I_ saw, not necessarily the one that took place.

    That’s why, to me, the case ended with the stewards’ decision. They had the best objective data available from telemetry, and their’s is the responsibility for passing down penalties.

    1. Bo, I am not a fan of either of the driver. In my race Hamilton brake-tested (by slowing down) but crucially within the rules even if not necessarily fair. And Vettel did deliberately hit Hamilton, but not at such a speed and not sufficiently hard to be called ramming into, dangerous driving or head-butting. So Hamilton cannot be punished ’cause simply he didn’t brake the rules while Vettel did receive what is in my mind sufficient sentence for that particular crime.
      At the same time, looking at the history of Vettel’s behavior since long time ago, he deserves his hand slapped otherwise he may repeat his actions from Mexico last year or Baku this year. In order for him to learn from his mistakes, a 1-3 race ban suspended to a year would ensure that he is on best behavior whenever in the car.
      In addition, rules regarding restart after a safety car period should be looked into and specifically for Baku, the safety car line should possibly be modified as mentioned by Sainz.

      1. The view from Perez’s car which was on the English or Sky feed. Said it all. I initially thought Hamilton had done something, but one could see the Safety car about 6 car lengths ahead of Hamilton about to take the corner. Vettel speeding away from Perez to lock unto Hamilton’s tail, they both appeared to be slow into the corner, then Vettel in about 3 seconds pulling to Hamilton’s side and the whack.
        Perez barely lifted through it all.
        In all these time you can still see the Safety car in the distant slowly making its way to the pits.
        How come Perez new the leader was not ready for a restart, but Vettel seemed so eager.

        1. Exactly. It’s a shame the replay from Perez’s car didn’t get repeated as much, it was by far the best view of the incident.

      2. Vettel already received a suspended sentence, effectively, with the warning following his actions in Mexico 2016. I feel any punishment now should be actual, not suspended. Further more punishment he escaped last time should be added on. I think he should either be disqualified from the Baku results or get a 1 race ban. And then an additional race ban for the current suspended sentence from Mexico 2016. I am expecting, however, we’ll just see a single race ban, or Baku disqualification. Oh not to mention Vettel was not even investigated for causing the initial collision with Hamilton – nor investigated for overtaking under the safety car (not sure it counts though if he’s a few feet ahead).

        1. If he indeed received a suspended sentence for his actions in Mexico (I don’t remember) and that sentence still stands, it should kick-in, no question about it. But that’s not a new punishment for the crime committed in Baku that is being debated here, it’s something that has already been over his head from before.

    2. Thank you, that’s interesting.

      Can I pick apart ‘brake tested’? When you qualify ‘perhaps by slowing down’, are you conceding that Hamilton maybe didn’t brake as such, but simply lifted? Either way, what makes it a ‘brake test’, as opposed to legitimate wrong-footing the 2nd place guy at the restart?

      When I hear ‘brake test’, I imagine someone either deliberately trying to cause a collision (have the guy behind him ram him & maybe break the front wing), or at minimum psych him out by giving him a severe fright. And I imagine that Hamilton had no such intention. But I imagine he -did- want to take Vettel by surprise and force him to brake hard just at the point when he, Hamilton, was flooring it to take the restart. And perhaps wrongly, I understand that to be the legitimate right of the guy leading, and the job of the 2nd place man to be wise to that and not get suckered.

      But I’m not actually sure that I’m right about those understandings of terminology or the rules, and I’m equally unsure whether other people share them. So in this case, I’m not actually sure we even -do – agree about the actual “_interpretation_ of events” (although I do agree that we may *also* disagree about what game we saw!)

      1. Most brake testing is done in anger at speed and is usually dangerous.
        At slower speeds it is done to annoy or disturb rhythm. Because Hamilton’s actions were moderate. He communicated he was slowing down by taking a steady pace through the corner, it should have giving the driver behind, assuming he was concentrating, sufficient time to adjust his pace for the restart. Vettel was about 4 feet behind, and wanted to accelerate failing to appreciate the cue from the car ahead.
        The gap was too short for Vettel’s reaction time between sudden acceleration and realisation.
        Have you ever had that sensation when in traffic your car is rolling slowly backwards and for brief moment you assume everyone is moving forward.
        So Vettel thought Hamilton stopped suddenly.

  57. No braketesting, OK. But going off throttle exiting a corner when youi are expected to accelerate is not particularly clever either.
    Rules state that you must not brake or accelerate erratically behind a safety car.

    1. Read the reports about the data. And read about what happened on the previous restart and why. When you have done all that I suggest that you think about it.

    2. Where do you accelerate to when you have to wait for the safety car.
      These are standard proceedures and nobody says you can’t brake or slow down.
      Hamilton didn’t have to be consistent at every restart provided he wasn’t locking his brakes at odd places.
      Vettel misjudged the situation, we all make mistakes.

    3. Andrea, I think we saw Perez clearly expecting HAmilton to drive like he did (Perez drove app. the same speeds, never getting closer until Vettel hits Hamilton), Ricciardo, Sainz, etc. all of them mentioned that they saw nothing unexpected or untowards.

      I think we can really trust the Stewards that they would jumped upon it had Hamilton been the one to cause this accident as you seem to indicate. And many of the drivers would have told it as they saw it.

  58. there’s no point in going on. You’ve alredy decided Vettel has to be punished for his horrible crime ( a couple of weeks in jail maybe?).
    Talkng about sport ethics, how come you never mentioned the fact that Lewis asked his team to slow Bottas in order to slow Seb?
    Nothing illegal nor punishable, but I thought that you, as probe defender of the values of the sport, would strongly disapprove…

    1. Who the hell are you to lecture me on morality? Read the blog rules. (He bites his tongue so as not to be offensive…)

    2. Earlier in the race, Hamilton had asked what he could do to help Bottas. Besides, that is for the team, not the FIA. A team can run at any sufficient pace they choose.

    1. And? We are all allowed an opinion and mine is very clear. Whether Jenson and Ross agree with me is neither here nor there. There are a whole let of people who agree with me as well.

  59. no brake testing but Lewis shifted down or went down on speed for sure , provoking the situation. He is not a clean dude in this situation and is playing it along. I do not know why you are so sided on this situation to Lewis.

    I am sorry but I DO NOT agree with you!

    At this time you are a BIASED PRESS!

    1. ED OWEN. DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW F1 CARS WORK OR HOW DATA WORKS IN RELATION TO HOW THOSE RACING CARS ARE DRIVEN? Cretin. An extremely appropriate use of one of my favourite words, Joe.

  60. Time and again HAM has shown the same unsporting and outright dangerous behaviour with backing up the pack in an irresponsible manner. And not only in a SC situation, we all remember his behaviour in Abu Dhabi last year where he backed up Rosberg and tried to claw the WC in an unsporting manner.

    Fair play is something the British seem to be very proud of. However, HAM’s antics in these situations are nothing short of kicking below the belt and as always, I wonder how some of the press would have responded if it had been the other way around. And when we talk about “spoilt children”, I also still remember vividly HAM’s self pity after the 2016 Finale when his trickery did not work.

    Having said so, VET’s action was out of order although I doubt anybody with a right mind would associate this move with road safety. If that were the case, the FIA should ban some race classes entirely, starting with e.g. DTM.

    NB: I’m not Italian, not German but a long time F1 follower and supporter who just doesn’t like biased press reports.

    1. It is his right to do that. Read the rules and your arguments will change. The act that he leads a lot of races is why you think he is a bad guy. But they all dot he same thing – and it is their right to do it.

      1. You are right Joe, but that rule needs changing. We have seen over the years a number of situations where a lead car drives at a restart after SC within regulations but unfairly towards drivers behind. And Sainz said in his post race comments as much. Let’s hope that this inquiry leads to better defined rule regarding restart after SC.

    2. He didn’t break the rules on Sunday. He didn’t at Abu Dhabi last year. In Abu Dhabi he did everything he could to win within the letter of the rules but he didn’t break them. Sure, call him petulant, surly and mealy-mouthed out of the car afterwards and on the podium, but in the car he was extremely cool and clever. If I were him I would have backed the field up in Brazil, but I think that he (correctly) made the judgement that that would have been far too dangerous a thing to do and may have opened him up to a sanction and criticism. So actually, quite intelligent and cool-headed behavour. It’s hardly the same as driving into someone on purpose because you are momentarily irate ( Baku ’17) Driving someone off the road at 190mph (Suzuka ’90) putting someone on the grass at 180 mph (Silverstone ’03), barging someone off the road in a wounded car (Adelaide ’94) or plain and simply, clumsily trying to take your rival out and failing (Jerez ’97).

      1. Tim, thanks for your reply, Joe Saward made the same point as well and I agree with both of you. HAM did not break a rule. That is why he did not get a penalty and should not get one.

        But that was not my point. And since we all seem to love football analogies, we all know the “Schwalbe” in football, i.e. a player’s deliberate theathrical antics in the 16 meter box meant to entice the referee in allowing a penalty kick and/or penalizing an opponent with (ideally) a red card.

        For years the act itself was not punishable and many a great player fell foul of it, also in WC deciding moments. And, because of the pure evilness of the action, sometimes this did indeed result in head butting out of pure frustration of the victim because the theatre player got away with it.

        In my view, HAM’s backing up tactics are equivalent to the Schwalbe. Which indeed is not punishable at the moment. But that doesn’t make it fair play.

  61. I agree that Vettel did something stupid, but it cost him the race, points on his license and a hit to his reputation. To me, that’s enough. Regarding Ferrari being difficult, I realize it makes journalists’ work more difficult, but the average fan doesn’t care. I think most people are just happy someone is giving Mercedes a hard time this year. And using Darren Heath doesn’t exactly help your cause. He’s always winging about something.

    1. I am sure that Darren is whingeing rather than winging. Thanks for your support. The media goes through a heap of crap to do a good job for the fans. It is so nice that you appreciate what you are getting.

  62. Can someone, ANYONE explain to me why there is a revolving cast of characters to act as Stewards at Grand Prix events? Why not a set panel of 3 people who can apply the rules and any penalties in a consistent basis without fear they won’t get asked to be a Steward again. The FIA and FOM employ I am guessing hundreds of people to put on a race weekend, why are these three critical positions always changing?

    1. I can. There is a panel of four or five chief stewards who between them are supposed to provide consistency. They now have much more contact than previously with decisions being circulated between them and so on. The drivers stewards tend to do a number of races each year so they are random people who only pop up for one race. The third stewards are all fairly regular as well. The fourth is always a local person and they tend to follow the crowd. The reason that there is not a permanennt steward is that when we had that there were soon accusations that the people concerned were biased one way or another.

  63. I’ve seen a lot of people combining a lot of aspects of the whole race together and somehow treating them as if they are one…

    1) Hamilton and Vettel colliding out of a corner is one incident. Do I think Hamilton was playing a game, yes. But 16+ drivers (I can’t remember how many were still going at this point) didn’t drive into the back/sides of any other competitor operating in a similar timeframe & space. Did Hamilton slam on the anchors, no. Should he have not decelerated quite as much as he did on the exit of a corner…maybe. Should Vettel have been a bit more cautious on the loud pedal coming off the corner when he knows someone else is in charge of the pace of the pack…yes. Racing incident…both suffered damage. No penalties required.

    2) Vettels deliberate manouveur into Hamilton is another incident entirely. The incident has been tried to be smoothed over with the idea that “it was slow speed”, no harm came to either driver or car…it was an act of passion. It’s all rubbish excuses as far as i’m concerned. You have to punish the offence and take the outcome into consideration. The act of anyone deliberately steering his car into another should be met with all of the repercussions that the FIA have at their disposal…championship be damned. People should be reminded of Dan Ticktum deliberately seeking out and crashing into Collard in the MSA Formula a couple of years ago after his rear end was tagged. A 2 year ban!

    I appreciate the pre-meditative element of the Ticktums manouveure is greater and the desire to crash and not to “express your displeasure” is a different action…and I appreciate it was the MSA that enacted the punishment and not the FIA but it was certainly treated as an incredibly severe incident with a career altering punishment for an up and coming british racer. What I do think it does though is set a precedent and one that is worlds apart from the punishment levied at Vettel in-race.

    3) The argument that Vettel finishing in front of Lewis isn’t fair to me is a non-starter. That was Mercedes fault and not Vettels gain. Lewis & the Mercedes team had the opportunity to win that race and they failed to do so through whatever finger trouble they encountered. The question should be, was Vettel finishing 4th a worthy punishment…not was Vettel finishing in front of Lewis fair.

    I think people should stop trying to creep arguments with existential activities or actions. We should just boil it back to the simple question of is a 10sec stop and go a fair penalty for a driver, devoid of circumstance, deliberately driving his car into another on the circuit and I for one would like to know the answer to that.

    1. Where he finished is irrelevant, you can’t punish someone because they did too well after a penalty. The only criteria applicable is did the punishment fit the crime.

  64. I am amazed at the amount of words poured into this comment space, where EVERYBODY, including Mister Joe, is COMPLETELY WRONG.

    It’s been right there in front of you and visible in all the videos. no telemetry or fancy data printouts necessary.

    Vettel always tries a lot to embrace the Italian attitude.
    But he’s just not ready. He hasn’t spent enough time in Italian traffic.

    1) A proper Italian driver ALWAYS waves with both hands unless he’s got a phone in the other hand
    2) we learn to use the steering wheel with our knees before our hands.
    3) Formula one cars don’t have a klaxon/horn. That is the single explanation for having so few Italian F1 drivers nowadays.

    Either that or he waived with the one hand and pushed on the wheel with the palm of the other hand in an instinctive gesture to get a klaxon / horn noise (translated as “cornuto” in Italian) but got a squirt of RedBull in his mouth instead, Hitting the wheel caused an abrupt steering to the right.

    Now, per favore, take it easy. Have some wine.


  65. Lots of interesting comments and perspectives in this thread.

    In my opinion what should have happened in the race is that Vettel should have been black flagged and the 3 points added to his license. I like both drivers and enjoy the rivalry this season but Vettel is so clearly in the wrong here and the punishment he was given does not fit the crime. The only suitable punishment for that willful act is a DQ. That did not happen so the FIA is taking another look as is their right. This can happen in many other sports as well – it is called retrospective action.

    Now, to tackle some of the various perspectives in the comments above with some points of my own.

    1. perspective A: “Hamilton brake tested Vettel so he is partly to blame”

    The telemetry does not support this. The telemetry indicates Hamilton coasted through the corner. That is his right as the lead car under safety car rules and the reason he did this and did not accelerate was because the safety car was getting ready to come in and he wanted to make sure that when he did accelerate there was no chance he would overtake the safety car and serve a penalty himself. This nearly occurred during the previous safety car period because the safety car was going slower than typical so he was making sure. As the lead car behind the safety car that is his right, he sets the pace under safety car conditions. Ricardo made this very point and explained why he was not surprised that Hamilton did not accelerate.

    2. perspective B: “But the video shows Hamilton did slow down!!!”

    Yes, a coast through the corner will mean a gradual loss of speed. You also need to be aware that at the same time Vettel decided to accelerate through the corner for some reason. Did he think Hamilton was going to do this? maybe, did he want to put Hamilton under pressure to force an error by him to overtake the safety car on restart? maybe, you have to ask why he was following him with barely inches between the cars anyway…. if he wanted to put Hamilton under pressure then fair enough, no complaints there, all the drivers play such games.

    Anyway, because of the Hamilton coast/gradual slow down and the acceleration by Vettel then hence, on the video the cars approach each other quickly and depending on which car you decide to focus on as you watch it then it could seem that Hamilton’s car slows down under braking and Vettel’s car makes no change in speed because there is really no visible frame of reference apart from the two cars. Hence, because of this it is better to reference the telemetry of each car which indicates a coast by Hamilton and an acceleration by Vettel.

    3. perspective C: “the sidewipe by Vettel was at low speed anyway so there was no danger so its not a big deal”

    A couple of things on this. The contact was between wheels. Wishbones and suspension have been shown to get damaged previously due to wheel to wheel contacts at low car speeds. Damage to these elements that then fail a bit later when Hamilton was past the safety car and racing at higher speeds could have led to a much more serious issue.

    Secondly, its possible the issue with the headrest might be in part due to the rear and side hits Hamilton’s car suffered. It is possible that it have weakened the head rest catch sufficiently for it to break later. Or maybe I am reaching there. I am sure Merc have worked out why it failed anyway.

    4. perspective D: “Vettel did not mean to sideswipe Hamilton”.

    He did. It was deliberate. He lined the front wheels of both cars before he performed that action so he could bang wheels rather than get his wheel tangled up in the side of Hamiltons car. Both cars were running on straight flat road at that point. There is no way the Ferrari would veer so sharply into Hamilton’s car without a deliberate steer from Vettel. I am sure the stewards have telemetry supporting this, it has just not been released to the public yet, maybe it never will be. People who are insisting it was a mistake because he had only one hand on the wheel and lost control are really reaching and are insulting Vettel’s driver abilities.

    I understand how hard it can be to be objective here if you favour one driver or the other and I can also understand how its possible to watch a video and see one view or the other and both views indicate a different outcome.

    Anyway, my thoughts for what it is worth

  66. If I really believed that Vettel hit Hamilton by mistake, at that speed, I would be asking if he was a competent person to hold a Superlicence. How is that a defence at this level?

  67. Long thread, much good. I´m a black-flagger. Everyone in motor sport understands black flag, so it´s clear , SV banged to rights and punished. It´s also over, whereas this is going to run and run. I don´t believe that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    Relativism (LH did not take maximum points from the race because of, presumably, a team failure , therefore SV´s punishment is not sufficient) has no place in the debate. They are seperate issues.

    This ongoing debate is bad for everyone, however, particularly the FIA which was responsible for the running of the race and may need to address its own abilities to manage track clearance, safety car deployment and stewarding, none of which seemed to be of the required standard at Bakú.

  68. for what it’s worth (what this place obviously needs is another opinion!), I’d prefer to see SV’s points taken away from Baku. Banning him from the next race would not only rob fans of potentially exciting racing (selfish on my part, yes), but also slightly advantage SV’s PU component usage.

    sorry if this has been said, i didn’t get through all the posts…

  69. One the question of intent, I think that whilst one cannot know what is going in any driver’s head-and there are times that it appears that very little is going on in some- perhaps telemetry data can help.

    Doing the same thing lap after lap behind the SC, suggests that it shouldn’t be a surprise to the car behind. Carrying out a surprise manoeuvre to confuse of unsettle is how I’d define a ‘brake test’. The data reportedly shows consistent behaviour.

    I know it’s not a “smolkng gun” but steering into an opponent could be indicated by the angular rate of change and/or torque data applied to the steering wheel. The steering input (rate or torque) would be very different from a deliberate move for an uncommanded drift. Also taking you hands off the wheel when steering into an opponent might be advisable to protect your thumbs?

    I don’t know the truth of any of it, I haven’t seen the data. But the FIA will have.

  70. Reading Darren Heath’s quote it seems they it could be used for both Ferrari and Vettel right now…..

  71. Vettel caused two impacts one we could attribute to a lack of concentration, the other was blatant. But he didn't apologise to the media for his second action. Effectively deciding for himself to do whatever he felt like on track.
    He lied against a fellow competitor by saying he was brake tested when no such thing happened.
    The safety car was still in operation when all these incidents transpired. Which indicates he was not concentrating on safety issues.
    Vettel was about 4-5 feet behind Hamilton when he struck him the first time, which indicated a lack of awareness of the safety car's location on track, meaning the race was no where being close to a restart at that corner. He effectively was trying to dictate the pace from second position.
    It took him about 3 seconds to then clear the back of Hamilton, run up beside,  gesticulate and side swipe, for lack of a better word, Hamilton's car. It could not be an accident.
    All these on live TV. Sponsors will be forced to identify with a stand against such kinds of actions. He exhibited road rage, and it discredits the governing body if no action is taken.
    Their hand is also forced because the driver in question doesn't seem aware he has done something wrong at any instance.

  72. Someone at work pointed me to JB’s and MB’s twitter feeds as they had posted some opinions on this.

    To paraphrase their various tweets then suggest that because the sideswipe was a “walking speed slap” (MB) or not a racing speed e.g 200mph (JB) then it was not such a big deal.

    I am not on twitter so I cannot post replies to them but I do wonder what they think is the limit in speed terms. At what speed does it go from being a casual slap to big something that is more serious? is 69mph ok but 70mph not? That is the issue once you start applying a speed argument to this.

    if you just keep it simple and state any delibrate act of crashing into another car is to be punished then you just need to prove intent and I am pretty sure the FIA have already proved that from telemetry.

    The other amusing tweet from Jenson was that because it was not on the road then it cannot be road rage. Well, quite an amusing joke but Baku is a road circuit is it not? and of course “road rage” is just being used as a descriptive term here where the circumstances are similar….

    1. I’ll repeat my post from above in case you missed, even though it seems I have been writing here more than even Joe: in Paris and many other European cities it is normal to use your bumpers against other cars whilst getting into a parking space. Nobody would call it a car accident, nobody would find anything unusual. If you do the same at 50kph (30mph), your insurance will hear from the other party and police may get involved. At which speed do you draw a line? I don’t think there is a clear answer…

      1. I am really not sure of the relevance of your Paris tale to this situation but please carry on writing such stuff if it makes you happy.

        However you wrote this;
        “At which speed do you draw a line? I don’t think there is a clear answer…”

        Which is the point I am making and given you decided to reply with it and cannot answer it then I do not think you understand yet. Let me try again…

        You cannot make a rule here that makes sense if you consider speed and hence you judge it purely on whether it was a delibrate action or not. It plainly was and only the very one eyed are saying otherwise. Hence speed is irelevant or as joe says,”in football a headbutt is a headbutt – intent is all”

        1. RedRonnie, I don’t think I said anywhere I believe his actions (his second hit) were not deliberate. But FIA or more correctly race stewards in their statement state, I quote: “The stewards decide this manoeuvre was deemed potentially dangerous.” So he was given 10sec stop and go for a potentially dangerous move. Obviously from their statement (not mine) in order to determine correct level of punishment you need to determine how dangerous the move was. And again obviously, it’s not equally dangerous if it happened at walking pace, 30mph, 100mph or 200mph. This is why I say the speed matters.

          1. I understand your point of view but I do not share it.

            Given that the FIA has decided to take another look at this then I think we can conclude that the FIA thinks that the stewards did not make the correct judgment and consequently did not deliver the correct punishment. I accept that I might be reaching here and that when the FIA have taken another look and publish the results of that then its very doubtful they will say publically that the stewards were in error….

            So, in my opinion, where were the stewards incorrect? When they decided the sideswipe from Vettel was potentially dangerous. It was not potentially dangerous at all. It was dangerous, it was also plainly deliberate and it was also under safety car conditions and when Hamilton is acting as the safety car proxy as the safety car is about to leave the track. These last two elements are more important in my view than the fact it was dangerous.

            I do not know if they considered the speed like you and other commentators have done when they decided it was potentially dangerous. If they did then they made a mistake. The deliberate nature of the contact and the fact it was under safety car conditions and in fact Vettel effectively smacked the safety car trumps that.

            I would be interested to know how stewards evaluate driver to driver contact situation like this. I imagined that top of the pile would be deciding in the 1st place whether any of the drivers involved made contact deliberately. If you can prove this then I expected it to be a DQ by default for that driver as really deliberate willful crashing into another car has no place in open wheel open cockpit F1. In mitigation maybe there could be some sort of extreme scenario that they had to hit car A to avoid a marshal on the track so you did not DQ in that extreme situation.

            If they decide that contact was not deliberate or cannot prove it then they would decide whether any of the parties involved were reckless and all the other synonyms and range of reckless to mildly careless that apply there. This is where you would deliver the various lower penalties depending on severity. At this point speed can come into play I think as its a factor to consider as far as reckless driving is concerned.

            If they cannot prove any reckless behaviour for any of the involved parties then it gets put down to a racing incident.

            Anyway, now that I have written the above I am really beginning to wonder whether they operate a tiered review system like this.

            To be honest, deliberate contact in so very rare in F1 I am not even sure its covered in the rules that the stewards use. Joe, do you know if it is?

            1. Not specifically, I don’t think. I don’t have time to read the rules but there are certainly dnagerous driving, bad sportsmanship and that sort of thing.

    2. To be honest I don’t want Vettel to be punished, but there must be contrution on his part. FIA championship, not his. But other drivers have been punished in the past for fighting with their cars. Should an exception be made for Vettel?

    3. Agreed Red Ronnie. I’m a huge MB fan but he got this wrong. It doesn’t matter what the speed of the impact was. It could have still had had an effect on the Hamilton’s (Or indeed Vettel’s car) at a later stage of the race at what is a very high-speed, and (and this is no criticism of the powers-that-be) subjectively at least, one of the seemingly less safe tracks on the current calendar. Suspension failures and punctures can be caused by all manner of things. Interestingly I didn’t like Baku as a circuit last year but I really warmed to it this year. Maybe that was the result of how action-packed and exciting the race was in comparison to last year’s. It felt like a kind of Eastern European Macau to an extent which is no bad thing.

  73. I completely agree that Vettel’s move was deliberate.

    I completely agree that there is no evidence at all that Hamilton was brake-testing Vettel.

    I completely agree that Vettel deserved (past tense) a more severe penalty than was handed out by the stewards, and disqualification seems to me as though it would have been the appropriate remedy.

    My concern with this is that, by allowing the FIA to come in after the fact and impose an additional / greater penalty, the authority of the stewards is undermined. If a decision can be (effectively) overruled after the race, then what are the stewards for? It was bad enough when we got stewards decisions announced substantially after the race had finished which altered the outcome, but this seem to open the way for alterations to the race result days or weeks later, rather than just hours.

    Was the stewards’ decision too lenient? I’d say yes — but I find it problematic for the credibility of the sport (and note, that’s purely looking at the sporting aspect, and nothing at all to do with whether Vettel acted contrary to guidelines or best practice on road safety, which he self-evidently did) that there should be a second bite at the penalty cherry so long after the race has ended.

  74. Hi Joe, The incident between Vettel/Hamilton was I believed due to Vettel nearly being overtaken by Perez on the first safety car restart and then Seb was focused on getting away from him at the start leaving him too close to Hamilton with the resultant crash and road rage Seb is unable to deal with the pressure.

  75. It is my firm belief that we would probably not be having this discussion had the FIA been sufficiently punitive in the past when dealing with deliberate collisions and dangerous driving.
    Their failure to adequately punish Ayrton Senna for deliberately driving into Alain Prost in 1990 in Suzuka started the problem. We then had the 1994 collision between Schumacher and Hill, and then the 1997 collision between Schumacher and Villeneuve. The FIA did take away all of Schumacher’s World Championship points in 1997, but they did not fine Ferrari constructor points, and his wins from that season still appear in the record books. Finally there was “RascasseGate”, where Schumacher deliberately blocked the race track, for which his punishment was simply to be sent to the back of the starting grid.
    There has been a lot of talk in the last few days of the FIA needing to “make an example” of Sebastian Vettel or “Send a message” that dangerous driving will not be tolerated. Whenever I read this kind of talk, I know I am dealing with a scenario where the governing body of a sport has not been adequately punishing bad behavior by competitors in the past.
    The only effective punishment for competitor misbehavior in a sport like F1 is to suspend drivers. They live to compete. The only action that will modify their behavior is denying them the chance to compete. Fines, penalty points, probation, finger-wagging warnings…they will treat actions like that as simply part of the cost of doing business.
    The FIA has to give up its reluctance to suspend drivers. If Vettel was convinced that driving into Hamilton under the safety car in Baku would have landed him an instant black flag and a 1 race suspension, you can be pretty sure he would not have done it. As it is, he still scored points for the team and himself. This is not the way to manage competitor behavior.

    1. Vettel is a hot head who seems to act first, think afterwards. He doesn’t seem capable of realizing that he is in the wrong in any given situation. Given he still doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong I doubt whatever the set punishment is it’d be much of a deterrent – because he can’t seem to comprehend it could ever apply to him

      1. Well he has been insulated from any negative impact for misbehavior in the past. Mark Webber explained in his book how Vettel went off and got lawyers to act on his behalf after the “Multi 21” incident in order to ensure that Red Bull would not punish him for failing to obey team orders.
        When you finally get around to punishing a person who has been acting badly with impunity you can be sure there will be a lot of light heat and sound from the person and their representatives. If Vettel is fined world championship points and/or banned, he and Ferrari will yell and scream all over the place. The right answer is to simply shrug and say “see you when your suspension is over”.

    2. @Graham Shevlin – perhaps we’re seeing the difference between the Bernie Era and the new LM regime. In the past Bernie would have been working the phones in an attempt to manipulate penalties for the sake of the ‘show’. LM are new and don’t appear to want to get involved in the same way. The FIA are free to operate without interference and Vettel isn’t going to be protected as he was in Mexico last year.

  76. I would hate to have what looks to be an exciting championship contest decided by a race ban.

    But I would hate it even more if improper and potentially dangerous behavior goes unchecked. Certainly Vettel and Ferrari are allowed to present a defense of what happened. But if the end of the day if the FIA decides a race ban is justified (and it could be, so far I’ve only seen a brief clip of the collision), then I support it.

    “It matters not if you win or lose but how you play the Game”-Grantland Rice

    1. I would hate to have what looks to be an exciting championship ruined by an overly lenient penalty 🙂 Please bare in mind, leniency at this stage of the championship could equate to unfairly handing the championship to Vettel at the end of the season if he wins it by only a small margin. The particulars and circumstances of the offence, and not the championship standings, should be the deciding factor here.

  77. Haven’t seen this much discussion since the $100 million fine , good to see the sport is alive & well but a little worried that this year will be like Americans cup where there will be silly protests after every race. Hope not.

  78. Joe, you mentioned that you believe the press speak for the fans. If there’s really such widespread outrage over Vettel an how Ferrari has refused to cooperate with the press then it should be reflected everywhere. Right?

    ESPN has a poll up and right now the UK is the outlier in believing Vettel deserves further punishment. 51% say no further penalty warranted or a fine. The largest category, 45% of respondents which are tracked geographically, by age and gender say no action is warranted.

    Do you think you and / or the media is out of touch? The numbers speak for themselves.

    1. It shows sadly that a lot of people don’t understand anything about the sport. That has no impact on whether we represent them or not.

  79. Generally I think the stewards do an okay job – there are only two major errors that I can recall in recent years, that needed re-visiting – the first was Michael Schumacher getting away with trying to put Rubens into the pitwall in Hungary and the second was Vettel last Sunday.

    The thing I am most interested in though is that Vettel is now going to have no choice but to explain himself to the FIA – thus far any questions about the contact with Lewis have been ignored or deliberately misunderstood (e.g. Will Buxton’s superb interview post race)

  80. Joe – quick question since I’ve been unable anything in the rules specifically. It is against the rules to overtake whilst racing under the safety car – but what is the definition of overtaking? Vettel after he smacked into Hamilton moved a few feet ahead of Hamilton whilst under the safety car. Was this not investigated as an oversight, or because the car needs to be entirely passed in order to have considered to be overtaking?

    1. That would probably count as an overtake but he gave it back (or LH took it) so he might get away with it.

      1. Schumacher deliberately overtook Hill on the warm-up lap to psych him out. I recall that did not end well for Schuey.

        There still seem to be some people who think it is unfair that Hamilton tried to gain an advantage on the restart which is quite amusing. Due to slipstreaming, the lead car is at a disadvantage on the start finish straight and that the safety car cannot be overtaken before it enters the pit lane so it is understood by all that the lead car will drop back from the safety car as part of the restart process.

        What Hamilton did was not just what he did consistently but what any driver would have the option of doing at a restart. If he was obliged to follow an entirely predictable routine then he is put at an unfair disadvantage.

  81. OK for anyone still in any doubt as to whether Vettel hit Hamilton deliberately – please review the onboard footage from Vettel’s car (videos are easy to find on YouTube) and look carefully at his hand movements.

    – After gesticulating with both hands whilst behind Hamilton, Vettel places both hands on the steering wheel
    – He moves left to go around Hamilton with both hands on the wheel
    – Then still with both hands on the steering wheel he moves the steering wheel from turn left position directly into a turn right position
    – Immediately after he raises his left hand to gesticulate, so all else being equal his right hand is still on the steering wheel
    – The steering wheel stays in a constant right position until he hits Hamilton

    In other words, at no point was Vettel’s steering wheel kept in the straight forward position, ergo at no point did he ever intend to go straight on at the side of Hamilton. He only ever intended to smack into the side of him.

    I don’t see how it’s possible looking at this concrete evidence to draw any other conclusion from this – it was deliberate.

  82. Thankfully the British media’s attempts to influence the politics of F1 have apparently failed.

    I’d be very interested to hear the full story of the apparently “fake” FIA press release though…

    1. If you think the British press was responsible, you have no understanding of the sport and what is acceptable.

  83. What strikes me is that Vettel and his team had all this data and even after the race there was no backing down.

    It smells of “sign this or you get a ban” – favouritism – commit an offence, deny it then get hauled up in court and be told if you admit it we will let you off. That is not justice. It also doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t address the issue of why the FIA needed to review the case – the event wasn’t in dispute, just the punishment so how does an apology represent the FIA properly assessing the penalty?

    I go back to when Hamilton got hard done by in 2008 at Monza against Raikkonen where iirc the reason he cut the chicane in the first place was to avoid a collision as Raikkonen braked too late in defence. The FIA used a technicality to avoid reviewing a position (ie that that sort of penalty couldn’t be reviewed which in itself sounds like bad law). In that season he FIA seemed quite keen on teaching Hamilton a lesson which neither Vettel or Verstappen have been subjected to. Was it McLaren whose face didn’t fit or was it racist? It is one reason I’ve been uncomfortable that the change in rules that in part were brought in due to the breakdown between Massa and Hamilton (Massa being incapable of spotting Hamilton overtaking him and closing the door late) were not applied to Verstappen when he didn’t grasp the principle of why F1 drivers don’t move under braking – it’s not because you can’t, it’s because you crash.

    Summary – Ferrari and Vettel are liked at the FIA and there is favouritism. Once again Hamilton is with a winning team and is having to fight the other drivers and the FIA.

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