Azerbaijan GP winner Daniel Ricciardo has suggested that his former team-mate Sebastian Vettel needs to take a calmer approach to races, following his on-track altercation with Lewis Hamilton during last Sunday’s race.
The German was handed a 10 second stop-go penalty for turning in on and hitting the lead Mercedes during a safety car period, and Ricciardo suggested this is somewhat in-character for the four-time world champion.
“Seb probably sometimes doesn’t think before he acts,” he explained to BBC Sport. “It’s probably driven through passion and hunger. He’s kind of just got to put a lid on it sometimes.”
While Ricciardo was keen to stress the obvious passion in Vettel’s driving is something he was happy to embrace, there was an indication from the Australian driver that a line had been crossed.
“I respect Seb a lot for his grit and his love for the sport, which turns into a lot of passion and sometimes aggression. I respect and like that about him.”
But today you have seen… whether it’s over the radio, sometimes he will just go crazy. It is probably – what’s the word? – spur of the moment? There’s a better word.”
Vettel’s original point of disagreement – before the wheel-to-wheel collision occurred – was the suggestion that Hamilton had brake-tested him exiting Turn 15 under the safety car. Telemetry reviewed by the FIA demonstrated this was not the case, and Hamilton had simply exercised his right to control the field’s pace as he saw fit.
“Look, whether Lewis slowed down or not, he has every right to dictate the pace. He’s the leader, and it was too early for him to accelerate. You’re not going to make the restart out of Turn 15. Seb was probably just a little bit over-excited.”
Ricciardo’s words bear thinking about for the current championship leader. Having incurred another 3 points on his license for the collision, he now stands only 3 points away from a race ban if he were to get into trouble at the Austrian Grand Prix, which would force him to the sidelines for the Austrian Grand Prix.