Newly crowned Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has revealed he told Sebastian Vettel not to “disrespect” him after their clash at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last June.
Behind the safety car in the race at Baku, Vettel made contact with the Mercedes AMG Petronas of Hamilton before the restart, with the German claiming the Brit was “brake testing” him.
The Stewards felt Vettel was the blame for dangerous driving and was later given a drive-through penalty during the race, costing him a vital win after Hamilton’s head rest failed. The FIA furthered the incident with an enquiry but didn’t punish the Scuderia Ferrari driver further.
However, revealed on Motorsport.com‘s show, The Flying Lap, Hamilton explained what he said to Vettel privately after the incident occurred.
“When I spoke to him later, I was like ‘that’s a sign of disrespect, so don’t ever disrespect me like that again otherwise then we will have problems’,” said Hamilton.
“I’ve never done that to someone. I don’t even know what he was thinking to have done… I’ve never been in a position like that. I guess people react differently under certain pressures.”
Hamilton said that his quiet reaction to the incident at the time was caused by a desire not to cause a “negative swirl” between the two championship protagonists.
“I think there’s different ways in which you can handle things.”
“I knew what I was there to do and I wasn’t going to let anything distract me from doing that. “I wasn’t going to let myself say something or react in a way that’s going to cause some negative swirl which is going to steer me off course from my ultimate goal.”
“And naturally, with the experience you learn to just compartmentalise all those different things.”