Hamilton says Vettel broke safety car rules in Baku

Lewis Hamilton believes Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel broke the safety car restart rules during last Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Hamilton says Vettel broke safety car rules in Baku
Safety car leads the field
Safety car
Safety car leads Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Niki Lauda, Mercedes AMG F1 Non-Executive Chairman and Charlie Whiting, FIA Delegate on the grid
Safety car
Safety car
Safety car leads the field and marshal
The Safety Car leads Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari and Charlie Whiting, FIA Delegate
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14 Tag Heuer, and Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14 Tag Heuer

At the first restart, leader Vettel slowed the field down and waited until the last possible moment to accelerate, in an attempt to minimise the run to the first corner and prevent others benefiting from his tow.

Hamilton, who was immediately behind him in second place, made it clear on the radio that he wasn't happy with the way Vettel had slowed and accelerated before finally taking off.

Race control looked at the incident, but it was deemed that the same sort of behaviour was happening up and down the field, and no action was taken.

Hamilton believes what Vettel did was wrong and suggested he might talk to F1 race director Charlie Whiting about it.

"The rules are, when the safety car goes, you are not allowed to start, stop, start, stop," said Hamilton.

"You're not allowed to gas, and then brake. You're not allowed to fake the guy behind, because naturally if there was not that rule, that's what you would do.

"You're not allowed to do that. You're allowed to weave, but you're not allowed to start, stop, start, stop.

"Every restart I've done, particularly the four that I did last year, I didn't do that, and I abided by that.

"In Australia, Sebastian accelerated and then braked, I nearly went up the back end of him. And today he did it maybe four times.

"I suppose I need to speak to Charlie, because I don't fully understand. As far as I'm aware, I think Charlie passed it on to the stewards, and the stewards didn't do anything about it."

Whiting was adamant that Vettel had done nothing out of the ordinary, and that it's the right of the leader to set the pace, as long as he doesn't make a dangerous move

"I think he controlled it very well," said Whiting. "It's up to the leading driver to say when we go, unlike some other series that have what they call an acceleration zone, a place, a 300-400m zone where you can accelerate, you can't do it before that, you can't do it after that.

"But once it goes green, which we had, the safety car comes into the pits, all the light panels go green, then it's up to the leader to decide when he's going to go.

"This is a very tricky place, because they catch the safety car very quickly if they go too early – we saw that in F2 last year, or the year before. I think Seb did control it very well.

"There was a little bit of a complaint from Lewis that he was not going at a constant rate, but if you look down the field, there are quite a few places where that happens.

"To expect them all to go at one speed just doesn't seem to happen. So as long as no one does anything that's obviously dangerous, then I think we're happy with what happened and I think he did control it rather well."

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