Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2017

Vettel avoids further sanction over clash with Hamilton

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

The FIA had announced it will take no further action again Sebastian Vettel over his collision with Lewis Hamilton in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Vettel has accepted full responsibility for the collision and pledged to make a public apology for it.

The FIA warned Vettel that “should there be any repetition of such behaviour, the matter would immediately be referred to the FIA International Tribunal for further investigation”.

Following an incident at the recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix involving a collision between Car 5 (Sebastian Vettel) and Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton), Sebastian Vettel was today invited to attend a meeting at the FIA’s Paris headquarters. He was accompanied by his Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene. He reviewed the incident together with a panel comprised of FIA Deputy President for Sport Graham Stoker, FIA General Secretary for Sport Peter Bayer, FIA Formula One World Championship Race Director Charlie Whiting and FIA Formula One World Championship Deputy Race Director and FIA Safety Director Laurent Mekies.

During the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, stewards officiating at the event issued a ten-second stop-and-go penalty to Sebastian Vettel, the most severe penalty immediately applicable before displaying a black flag notice to the driver. Sebastian Vettel also had three penalty points applied to his FIA superlicence, taking his current total to nine.

However, while respecting the stewards’ decision, the FIA remained deeply concerned by the wider implications of the incident, firstly through the impact such behaviour may have on fans and young competitors worldwide and secondly due to the damage such behaviour may cause to the FIA’s image and reputation of the sport.

Following detailed discussion and further examination of video and data evidence related to the incident, Sebastian Vettel admitted full responsibility.

Sebastian Vettel extended his sincere apologies to the FIA and the wider motor sport family. He additionally committed to devote personal time over the next 12 months to educational activities across a variety of FIA championships and events, including in the FIA Formula 2 championship, the FIA Formula 3 European championship, at an FIA Formula 4 championship to be defined and at the FIA Stewards’ seminar. Due to this incident, president Jean Todt instructed that no road safety activities should be endorsed by Sebastian Vettel until the end of this year.

The FIA notes this commitment, the personal apology made by Sebastian Vettel and his pledge to make that apology public. The FIA also notes that Scuderia Ferrari is aligned with the values and objectives of the FIA.

In light of these developments, FIA President Jean Todt decided that on this occasion the matter should be closed.

Nevertheless, in noting the severity of the offence and its potential negative consequences, FIA President Todt made it clear that should there be any repetition of such behaviour, the matter would immediately be referred to the FIA International Tribunal for further investigation.

Commenting on the outcome of today’s meeting, FIA President Jean Todt said: “Top level sport is an intense environment in which tempers can flare. However, it is the role of top sportsmen to deal with that pressure calmly and to conduct themselves in a manner that not only respects the regulations of the sport but which befits the elevated status they enjoy.”

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

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Browse all Azerbaijan Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, 2017 F1 season

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 181 comments on “Vettel avoids further sanction over clash with Hamilton”

    1. Now back to racing.

      1. Not so fast – here’s Vettel’s apology:

        OK, now back to racing…

        1. Looks like Lewis Hamilton has an opinion on the outcome…

          1. @aqualyn Thanks for that – do you have a proper link to it? It would be very easy to fake a graphic like that (already today we had some loser circulating a fake ‘tribunal ruling’ from the FIA).

          2. Sorry but the way that is worded it doe not sound as if it was written by Hamilton. If it had been written by him it would read “I” and not “Lewis” and “would be banned” and not “he’d” be banned.

            1. It is a post from someone else that Hamilton “liked”.

      2. No racing yet. We have to be captivated by the ongoing soap opera that is Formula 1 before we can watch them race again. The equivalent of a cliffhanger to hide the fact the racing is so boring.

        1. I wonder what will happen if Ferrari score a 1-2 in Austria. The cries of “tainted championship” will be huge. I can imagine the headline, “Sebastian wins a race he never should have been allowed to take part in”

          1. Don’t give them ideas!

          2. The Hamilton fans will cry tainted championship regardless. Just look at last year.
            If one thing goes wrong it’s everyones fault but Hamilton’s.

            1. Come on man. One thing? He had 5 engines blow up! Even just the one where he lost 25 points was enough to kill his championship, but he lost a ton more points due to failing engines and failing start system.

              Of course Rosberg also had a few start system fails (Hockenheim for instance which cause him the lead) , but he had far less issues than Hamilton

              So stop it with the ridiculous bias already. The technical issues Hamilton had far outweighed any thing he did wrong himself.

    2. Francorchamps (@francorchamps17)
      3rd July 2017, 18:43

      Veryyyyyy lucky.

    3. Disappointed. I had hoped they would do the right thing and show that this sort of reaction when in charge of a racecar just will not be accepted. If I did what he did on the road, I’d expect a heavy fine and 3 month ban at least.

      Racing isn’t the same as road driving, granted, he should be held to even higher standards.

      1. Guybrush Threepwood
        3rd July 2017, 20:01

        If we did on a public road what any one of the 20 drivers do on the race track we would not see or license for a long time.

        1. @sham I agree with Guybrush on this. I don’t think you can compare what you do on the road to anything on the race track. I also think you are going overboard here. Vettel was doing maybe 50mph. Drivers do way worse to each other at 150+mph! How many times do we see drivers throw each other off the track? I want to see passion, I want to see anger, I want to see excitement. Else, I might as well go sit by the side of the M4 and watch you and everyone else drive!

      2. I’m disappointed too.

        There us no excuse for what he did the first time. The second time should be an instant ban.

        Seb showed a huge lack of sportsmanship through the 2nd incident and the FIA should have hauled him up over it.

        If it where Lewis that crashed just once, he’d be faceing huge ramifications right now, not just a slap on the wrist.

        This outcome just shows what a sham F1 is, especially if Seb wins this season.

        Very disappointed with this outcome and for future of the sport.
        It’s like watching WWF/E wrestling now. As you know bad behaviour is encouraged as part of the act now.

        1. Second time? Did I miss something?

          If by first time you mean when Lewis slowed after going through the turn and SV hit him, then there are plenty of excuses for it! That is not to apportion blame, but accidents happen and No, Lewis wouldn’t have faced “huge ramifications” as you call it. Vettel didn’t get a slap on the wrist he effectively had a win taken away with the most severe penalty that the stewards can issue without a black flag, plus 3 points on his license.

          There is also a difference in my eyes between a crash and a collision, something which many people commenting on this can’t seem to differentiate between! one generally involves damage and the other does not.

          As for your comparison with F1 to WWF……….*shakes head* why do I even bother….

    4. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      3rd July 2017, 18:45

      Good. Time to move on.

      1. Lewisham Milton
        3rd July 2017, 18:50

        …until it all gets dragged up again, in the press conferences that should be for promoting the Austrian Grand Prix.

      2. Out of interest, what are your thoughts on the fact that after his last road rage outburst less than a year ago the FIA had a similar meeting where they said if he does that kind of thing again there would be consequences and here we are following another road rage incident and the FIA response is if he does it again they’ll be consequences… What are these consequences meant to be exactly as from here it seems like a pretty hollow statement.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          3rd July 2017, 21:41

          Nothing unusual here

        2. After the Mexico incident, the FIA gave Vettel the last warning before the final warning.

          1. Even Jeremy Clarkson was fired after multiple final final warnings.

        3. You keep using the words ‘road rage’ where I cannot find them in any of the FIA reports on either this or the Mexico incident……..strange!

    5. The long arm of Ferrari…

      1. mr. Todt is already proving his worth..

      2. That helped Mercedes win 3 championships.

    6. As it should be

    7. Good. Penalty was given. Stewards had all the same information as the post race decision people had, unlike with the brake test when they didn’t have the telemetry, here they didn’t need telemetry to see what Vettel had done, and they gave the penalty which they thought was appropriate, like what they do for every other incident, and that should be the end of it. On to Austria.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        3rd July 2017, 23:15

        @hugh11 actually they gave the smallest penalty they could to avoid affecting the championship which they didn’t want to affect. The FIA needed to correct that because you can’t hit people’s cars when you make a mistake during the safety car and receive practically no penalty and after the race you can pretend to be Saint Sebastian.

        If in doubt, read the last sentence. I get the stewards being afraid especially the replacements but I don’t understand the FIA.

        What safety? Come again? Get real Todt – you caricature of a leader…

    8. So what was the point in this? Twice he’s had hearings, twice he’s said sorry, twice he’s gotten away with it.

      1. Exactly. Smells of special treatment for Ferrari who threatened with the race boycott if punished. I never ever supported Hamilton, but seeing how Kimi is treated by Ferrari and how Vettel behaves, I really do hope that Seb is not the champ.

        1. The fact they had this meeting shows that the FIA think his behavior is inexcusable. So why have they failed to give any sort of punishment on two different occasions? It amazes me that he can “apologise” twice and get the same “don’t do it again” warning. It didn’t stop his fits of rage the first time, it’s not going to work now. His actions are a serious issue, but the bigger issue is his inability to control his anger while being in control of a Formula 1 car.

        2. Martin Strümpfer
          4th July 2017, 6:17

          If anything, Bottas is more a no.2 than Kimi. I mean, Hamilton could just ask for his teammate to give up his race for him to gain a position from Vettel? If Ferrari had such a clear no.2 why not use blatant team orders such as Mercedes. With equal cars Vettel is usually the fastest one of the Ferrari cars anyway.

      2. Totally agree Patrick, Seb is a pram thrower of the highest order and always will be. A total waste of time!!!

      3. The point is to stop with the hearings! Let the final decision be on Sunday – this is a great season for the same reasons as the crazy Prost Senna era! Vettel’s passion is so much more appealing than the sterile Hamilton.

      4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        3rd July 2017, 23:26

        @aqualyn actually, the FIA are beginning to waste the sport’s time. I think they should just lay low and never investigate anyone. Probably meet once a year, if necessary just to see which members are still alive.

      5. the FIA remained deeply concerned by the wider implications of the incident

        Incoherent nonsense all the way. Why give a mild penalty during the race, then call a hearing, then just give a very feeble telling off, but still insist that it has deep concerns about the incident?

        So concerned it plans to do sweet FA. Oh except that Vettel can’t do any safety promotion for FIA for the rest of the year. Draconian stuff.

        1. Todt now has a free spokesperson for his pet project though.

      6. He’ll just learned that sorry is the easiest word to say. FIA and Todt’s road safety show that it was just an attention and money grabbing sham from Mr. Presidente. and we are back to Ferrari International Assistance with them.

    9. The right outcome.

      30 + seconds lost in Baku was enough for a wheel to wheel contact at 30 km/h.

      Intentional and dangerous moves like Sainz on Alonso Mexico 2016, Verstappen on Raikkonen multiple times at Spa & Hungary, were not even penalized

      1. Exactly. Like I’ve said before, if Hamilton didn’t lose his headrest and had won the race, the 30+ seconds lost by Seb would’ve been considered fine and there wouldn’t be nearly as much hysteria. And why should the punishment change because something completely unrelated happened.

      2. For me it wasn’t a question of danger, it was a question of bringing the sport into disrepute. Same as insulting the race director. Or Hamilton lying to the stewards in Australia and getting disqualified (for me the worst thing he’s done in the sport).

        The only dangerous racing I’d have given a DSQ for recently, as far as I can remember, was Schumacher’s push of Barrichello towards the wall at Hungary, one of the most despicable actions I’ve seen in Formula 1.

        1. Bringing the sport in direpute? Vettel was at fault and he got a 10 seconds stop and go. You cannot be punished twice for the same crime.
          But what about “tell Valtteri to slow down Vettel so I can reach him”??? Is this a good imagine of sport?

          1. You’re comparing lemons and elephants. Disrepute means a fundamental disrespect for the sporting parameters: abusing those adjudicating the sport (refs, stewards etc.) or showing contempt for other competitors, both of which Vettel showed. Hamilton’s request was modulated by asking if Bottas wasn’t competing for position. It would be no different to what Ferrari have done in the past, using one car to block a rival so as to favour the other. Whether you think it’s a good image or not depends on whether you see F1 as individual or team based. I’m not decided to be honest. But I’d rather see the blocking actions than one driver simply ceding position to the other (except when on different strategies), they have an interesting tactical dimension and don’t strike me as unsporting as such.

          2. You cannot be punished twice for the same crime.


      3. check the penalty points on Max…

    10. Perhaps Sebastian should give NASCAR a shot, he won’t have to worry about contact like this going forward.

      1. There’s a banger racing track near Silverstone. Seb should let off some steam under pressure that his pressure cooker helmet is storing dangerously. Safer for all.

    11. How many races before Lewis knock Seb off the track, writes #Sorry on instagram?

      1. The thing is they’d never let Lewis get away with it like they did Seb. Even if Lewis was in a Ferrari.

        1. So why was lewis not Banned in Fuji 2008 for break testing under a safety car and causing a collision. Go check Wikipedia for facts.

          1. @bharath So you actually have not seen it yourself ?. It was rainjng hard that race and Hamilton was trying to keep his brakes warm, stop spreading lies.

    12. Proteting the title fight and, of course, red overalls.
      Other drivers wouldn’t be so lucky by getting a pat on the back after saying “i’m sorry”.
      I didn’t expect anything different.

      1. Lewis Hamilton said Vettel was a disgrace for tapping him at 15mph. He says Senna is his hero but he caused a huge crash at 180mph by crashing into Prost on purpose. Just for giggles I hope Hamilton is asked what he thought of Sennas actions at Suzuka 1990.

        1. Comparing Vettels action with Senna’s, shows you have no clue about the historical events leading up to the Senna action.

          1. Marian Gri (@)
            3rd July 2017, 21:38

            Get a life, dude! So, what now, HAM has at his disposal 1 shot without any penalty to do to VET the same thing and see if he can do a better job – take out VET off the race?!?!

          2. Hasn’t everyone else agreed that the circumstances leading to Vettel bumping HAM where irrelevant? Even if HAM had indeed brake tested him, everyone said his actions were reprehensible. So is that different in Senna’s case? See, more double standards. Another reason I never liked Senna and his supporters.

            1. There’s no need to overgeneralise

      2. Yes, sure…Bottas wasn’t given any space from Raikkonen, so it’s a very normal racing accident that a Mercedes drives INTO THE SIDE of a Ferrari without any penalty.
        It’s normal that this happened in the last three races. How can you say that the red ones are protected? Have you been watching some other championships in the last years?

        1. without any penalty.

          Nor intentions

      3. @edmarques

        I expected it as well. Someone from the Ferrari PR department wrote a letter and handed it to Seb… Seb then reads the letter out to the FIA. Five minutes later Seb is let off the hook and he is smiling outside the hearing. In his head he knows he can get away with any sort of behaviour as long as the Ferrari International Assistance (FIA) is on his side.

        Shame really… because that boy needed to learn a lesson. Instead, he’ll go about his usual road rage and potty mouth talk.

      4. @edmarques

        Then why has Maldonado gotten away with it TWICE by only serving a grid place penalty for each?

    13. Ferrari International Assisstance is alive and well after all.

      Seriously though, all this does is send out a message to other drivers that you can deliberately ram another car whilst behind the safety car and as long as you say sorry, you’ll get a meaningless penalty and that’s that.

      No doubt, if he did something at the next race that any other driver would get three points on his licence for, they’ll just give him a meaningless time penalty.

      Had this been another team and driver, he would have been sitting out at least the next race.

      1. Please explain how a 10 second stop go (amounting to 30 seconds) is “meaningless”?

        1. Besides the fact that they waited until Hamilton was forced to pit for the headrest problem and had to stop for longer, thus allowing Vettel to leapfrog him and finish ahead to maintain his championship lead?

          1. So you are implying that Vettel’s penalty should be higher than a 10-second stop-go. Ok, Let’s say I agree with you. Now tell me, why should Vettel’s penalty be higher. Is it because a) He did something dangerous b) Hamilton had an unrelated problem altogether later in the race. Is it a) or b). Or both?

            In your first comment you imply to a). Then you imply b). Make up your mind please!

            1. +++++1

            2. a) he lied about Ham brake checking him, here is the telemetry

              b) Vettel’s actions may have contributed to the unnecessary stoppage hence the secondary issue. we ll never know… but he did cause physical damage to Ham’s car first time by not being careful, and second time he did it on purpose which you can see in the video in (a), again, which caused the stopage and the unfortunate chain of event and that mistake happened in the following events… butterfly effect anyone?

              c) now this ruling as tap on the wrist sends the message to all: if you are a wdc contender and if you happen to crash into your competitor or force him off unnecessarily, you will be told not to do it, instead of being punished severely! and remember this only applies if you are wdc worthy… if you are a peasant, dont even think about it, because you will be banned and will be penalized and penalized and penalized!

            3. @mysticus

              Or, d, if your name is Lewis Hamilton you can force your competitor off track all season long and not even be investigated for it once. Because he’s black. And the last thing the FIA wants is to be called racist. Cuz there’s a couple #44TeamHamilton SJW’s at the ready to use that card if they do.

            1. l stopped at point a as it’s rubbish

        2. +1

        3. meaningless because it should have been a black flag.

          1. +100000

            1. Should have been black flagged

    14. Anyone else getting a black flag made for Silverstone?

      1. This needs to happen.

      2. Hahaha. COTD.

      3. RP (@slotopen)
        3rd July 2017, 21:25

        Why wait till Silverstone?

        1. I’m not going to Austria! ;-)

    15. Graham (@guitargraham)
      3rd July 2017, 18:59

      the “action for road safety ” campaign just became a bit of an ironic joke

      1. Someone tell Rosberg that if he wants Todt to stop annoying him about road safety he just has to crash into someone else on live tv. That should do it

      2. Exactly

    16. Good decision. More than anything else, I felt that the Stewards got it right the first time and gave the approrpiate penalty. Any upgrading of that would have discredited the on-field stewards and would have rendered the whole incident more shambolic than it already is.

      Time to get on with racing.

      1. Its like i said whats the point of having stewards if you dont go by their penalty. If you want the FIA to police it and step in then just drop the stewards all together or get a full time set of them that are non biased. (NON BIASED) being the key word!

      2. I read a comment on another article yesterday quoting one of the stewards in Baku saying that they didn’t go for the DSQ as they didn’t want to interfere with the championship. Not good enough, an action should have a consequence that is set in stone and doesn’t vary just because it involves a “championship contender” – part of the reason I’ve always thought Romain Grojean’s ban in 2012 was unfair (as the main part of the justification was that he eliminated a “championship contender”).

        If the stewards get it wrong, as I believe they did in this case, they need to be called out and corrected. The FIA have failed today in that regard.

        1. @skydiverian

          stewards in Baku saying that they didn’t go for the DSQ as they didn’t want to interfere with the championship

          Its inline with the approach that the Stewards have been taking since 2016. The approach is that penalities should only be handed out when necessary and shouldnt be stupidly heavy – something I personally agree with. Disqualification would have been harsh. We don’t want situations like we had in the past where the fundamental result of the race was changed, eg Hamilton losing his win in Belgium 2008 for a relatively small infraction.

      3. @lout-garou

        Any upgrading of that would have discredited the on-field stewards and would have rendered the whole incident more shambolic than it already is.

        As @keithcollantine said though, wouldn’t be unprecedented

    17. Common sense has prevailed. Vettel’s action wasn’t deliberate, just like it wasn’t deliberate of him running in the back of Lewis. He got a penalty during the race which he served. Case closed. Let’s get back to racing!

      PS: I do think it was wrong of him not to acknowledge the action after the race. He should have put his hands up, accepted his mistake and apologised.

      1. I agree this is getting old…but not nearly as old as you guys STILL defending vettel s actions, if not downright misrepresenting obvious road rage as simple “wheel contact”…

        1. Some of us still miss the golden age of F1. A time when there wasn’t a penalty for every possible action by a driver. A time when a driver might feel hard done by from time to time without an obsessive need to complain to “daddy”, “Charlie” or the media. A time when there was no asphalt in the runoff-zones, if you went of that would probably be the end of your race. A time when there was no DRS or limitations to innovation on different cars. A time when everything was a little less regulated..

          God I miss how things used to be..

      2. You can argue the penalty was given in the race and was sufficient (or shouldn’t be revised). But you can’t justify crashing into Hamilton by insisting it was non-deliberate – that just means his over-reaction (which he now admits) led to a loss of control, enough for him to collide at slow speed. Either way it’s bad.

      3. Whatever dude.

        I’m sure Tyson didn’t intentionally bite Holyfield’s ear off either..

        1. @todfod

          And I’m sure Alonso had no idea what Briatore and co had planned at Singapore ’08.

          1. And I’m sure you just took that example to take a cheap shot

            1. @todfod

              And I’m sure you haven’t been doing that since Monza ’08

    18. Was there ever any doubt that this would be the result?

    19. I cannot believe that he’s got away with this FIA should be ashamed. Another other driver (ok mabey not HAM) would have faced a race ban. Minimum. What’s different for this guy. If he can’t display the cool head of a four time world champ and accept responability…He shouldn’t even be in the sport. Trust me this thing is so not buried yet. As much as I want to draw curtains over it cus it’s all done now…Bit many more conversations will be had over this.

      1. Yes the least I expected was a grid drop.

        Now imagine what the other drivers would think ” yeah I can go aggressive, all it takes is a 10s pit stop penalty and an apology letter ”

        dissapointed by the outcome !

        “action for road safety ” great action indeed , sigh !

        1. Yes, just imagine all the other drivers who have been waiting for the opportunity to go from a guaranteed race win, down to fourth place, virtually consequence free!

    20. I’m sure Vettel is crying over not being able to take part in the safety campaigns. I mean seriously, do they see that as a punishment ? Sounds more like a holiday !

      And to be fair to Vettel he was really apologetic after the race. But I’m sure this time it’s 100% sincere…