Vettel’s Madness At Baku Puts The FIA’s Authority Under Scrutiny
Formula One
A fantastic and chaotic race at the Azerbaijan GP was overshadowed by a racing incident during a safety car period involving Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. As for the race Hamilton was on course to win but a loose headrest forced the Mercedes driver to pit which dropped him down the order. Vettel picked up a 10 second penalty for ramming his Ferrari into Hamilton’s Mercedes in a race that saw three safety periods and a red flag. A number of drivers could have won but in the end Daniel Ricciardo kept his head down and kept out of trouble to secure his first race victory of the season for Red Bull. Such is the tight nature of the street circuit in Baku that the slightest of error means it’s either game over or a safety car period is called for minor incidents. Ricciardo won from 17th on the grid. But this race wasn’t defined by the winner or the collision between Hamilton and Vettel, although it did play a big part in the drama filled race. The race in Baku was defined by the FIA’s inability to comprehend what Vettel had done and a reluctance to deal with the Ferrari driver’s moment of sheer madness. During a second safety car period the lead driver dictates the pace, Hamilton was waiting for the safety car to return to the pitlane on lap 21, he slowed mid-corner to build up a gap to the safety car and this took Vettel by surprise. Vettel clipped the rear Hamilton’s Mercedes which caused minor damage to front wing of Vettel’s Ferrari.


Vettel angrily gesticulated behind, then drove alongside Hamilton and swerved into the Mercedes making deliberate and intentional contact. The sheer madness of this act should have seen Vettel immediately black-flagged and banned for the next race but the FIA appeared slow to react. Eventually, in what seemed like many laps later, the FIA handed Vettel a 10 second penalty. If you have ever driven in a karting event and you fall foul of the rules even by the slightest margin you will be given a black flag. The question is if the FIA can make rules that are designed to reign in bad driver behaviour in order to avoid such dangerous incidents as witnessed between Vettel and Hamilton why are these rules not enforced when the incident is so clear cut? Vettel should be given a one race ban. No questions asked. Vettel’s rage was fuelled by what he thought was a brake test initiated by Hamilton. Data showed that Hamilton had applied consistent pace throughout the final phase of turn 16. Even faced with this evidence Vettel still apportioned blame upon Hamilton. Just as it is incumbent for road users to be responsible when following a car so to do these rules apply to the race track. At the very least an experienced driver like Vettel has to be fully responsible for his own judgement when following a car  under a safety car period. Vettel’s lack of judgement and subsequent supernova like anger of explosion basically went unpunished and the FIA have now dug themselves into a trench for not enforcing the rule governing the on track code of conduct to the letter of their own laws. In the end Vettel was punished for dangerous driving given a ten second penalty and docked 3 points from his super license. But that just doesn’t seem to go far enough, if this had occurred on the road then Vettel would have been arrested. The FIA have been made a mockery of by Vettel, it means if Hamilton wants to ram into Vettel at the next race then he can expect receive nothing more than what Vettel received in Baku. If you take it like that then bizarrely a harsher punishment than that handed to Vettel would appear to be unfair. For Hamilton this means he now has a psychological advantage over his rival, so in the end it turned out to be a productive day for the title chaser.  Vettel-Rage-Baku-Dailycarblog-2017
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