Monday 19 March 2018

Sebastian Vettel could still face fresh punishment after he crashed into title rival Lewis Hamilton

Sebastian Vettel rams Lewis Hamilton's car in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel rams Lewis Hamilton's car in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel is under investigation by Formula One's governing body after he deliberately collided with title rival Lewis Hamilton in Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Four-time champion Vettel was punished with a 10-second stop-and go penalty during the chaotic race after he banged wheels with Hamilton during a second safety car period.

Vettel, 29, faced accusations of bringing the sport into disrepute and the FIA said they will determine whether they now need to take any further action against the sport's championship leader.

Vettel could be fined, penalised with a grid drop, or even hit with a race ban should the FIA decide to discipline the German.

The sporting federation revealed that the investigation will take place on Monday, six days before the next round of the championship in Austria.

"Following the recent incident at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in which Sebastian Vettel was involved in a collision with Lewis Hamilton, on Monday 3rd July, the FIA will further examine the causes of the incident in order to evaluate whether further action is necessary," an FIA spokesperson said.

"A statement regarding the outcome of this process will be made available before the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix."

Vettel, believing that Hamilton had deliberately brake-tested him during one of three safety car periods in Baku, drove alongside his rival and slammed into him.

However, telemetry from Hamilton's Mercedes proved that the 32-year-old Englishman had not been acting in an unusual manner prior to the first collision.

Vettel was already walking a disciplinary tightrope after he was hit with three points on his F1 licence on Sunday night, taking his tally to nine following the incident on lap 19 of the Azerbaijan race.

Indeed, if the Ferrari driver obtains three more at next Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix, then he will automatically miss Hamilton's home race at Silverstone.

Vettel was warned by the FIA over his future conduct only last October after he told veteran race director Charlie Whiting to ''f*** off'' during a number of heated radio transmissions.

Asked if Vettel's actions on Sunday proved to Hamilton that his rival was showing signs of mental weakness, the Englishman - 14 points behind in the championship race - replied: ''That's been kind of obvious for some time.

''You look at last year and some of the things he's come and said on the radio. We know how he can be.

''I honestly would never have thought that that would have happened, but we can only look at that as a positive for us.

''We've put a lot of pressure on Ferrari. He's under pressure and that's not a bad thing. That shows that often pressure can get to even some of the best of us.''

Press Association

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