Following accusations from Sebastian Vettel that he was brake-tested by Lewis Hamilton during the second safety-car period in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the FIA have confirmed there is no evidence to support the German’s suggestion.
While controlling the field in preparation for the restart on Lap 19, Hamilton was deliberately slow to allow the Safety Car to disappear up the road, having come extremely close to catching and passing Bernd Mayländer before the SC line on the first restart. An eager Vettel ran into the back of Hamilton at the exit of Turn 15, and the Ferrari driver immediately accused Hamilton of deliberately brake-testing him.
Having examined the telemetry data from the Mercedes in full, the stewards judged that there was no sudden brake application leading to Vettel rear-ending the race leader, confirming what the Brit had told reporters immediately after the race.
While the Mercedes driver had been given the all clear, the stewards took a rather more dim view of Vettel’s actions, specifically his collision moments later from the initial contact. He pulled up alongside Hamilton and steered right, bouncing off the front-left wheel of the Mercedes, for which he was handed 3 penalty points on his superlicence.
“The stewards examined video evidence which showed that car #5 drove alongside and then steered into car #44,” read an FIA statement. “The stewards decide this manoeuvre was deemed potentially dangerous.”
This means Vettel has now accumulated 9 penalty points in the last twelve months, and while his point count will roll back to six at Silverstone late next month, he must keep his nose clean at the next round in Austria to avoid being handed a race ban.