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Closed – both were punished — Vettel by FIA, Hamilton by god

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Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has escaped further punishment despite confessing he was only to blame for his fight with title rival Lewis Hamilton at last month’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

FIA last night declared the matter “closed” after Vettel promised president Jean Todt he would issue a public apology for deliberately swerving into Hamilton in Baku.

“I want to apologise to Lewis directly, as well as to all the people who were watching the race. I realise that I was not setting a good example,” said the Vettel.

Formula 1 experts’ expressions before the final sentencing.

Former Ferrari and McLaren driver Berger told Bild am Sonntag: “I don’t understand all the excitement.”

And he also told Kurier newspaper: “I find the whole story good, because every fan has an opinion and that’s what every sport needs.

“What we saw was two athletes with emotion, but no dangerous action. Both of them provoked, and both were punished — Vettel by the FIA and Hamilton by the motor sport gods with his headrest.

“The topic should be over and we move on,” Berger, now the DTM series boss, added.

Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport was predicted that if Vettel is given a race ban, Ferrari is threatening to boycott the race altogether.

Like Berger, Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko thinks Mercedes’ Hamilton provoked Vettel, even if telemetry showed that the Briton didn’t do a ‘brake test’.

“Sebastian is an emotional person, but I stick to what I said because with these formula one cars, the electric motor is also like a brake if you are not on the power.

“I say Hamilton provoked him, and please — this is not a girls’ boarding school and the speed was not high,” Marko told Kronen Zeitung newspaper.

However, Mercedes’ Niki Lauda says the real issue is not Vettel steering into Hamilton, but the fact the German didn’t apologise afterwards.

“To be clear: even the best professionals make mistakes,” he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

“I think Sebastian is smart and experienced, but for him to take this hopeless and rigid stance against all the facts — I expected more from him,” Lauda added before the sentencing.

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