Date: 27th June 2017 at 7:15pm
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The Mercedes hierarchy have had their say on Sebastian Vettel.

It wasn’t that many months ago that the former four-time Formula One World Champion was being touted for a drive at Mercedes.

When Nico Rosberg stunned the Silver Arrows team by announcing his immediate retirement after clinching the 2016 Formula One World Championship, many in the paddock and the media believed that Vettel was a target for Mercedes.

But with one-year remaining on his Ferrari contract, Mercedes couldn’t get him out of Ferrari and so signed Valtteri Bottas from Williams, signing conveniently for just one season.

Could Mercedes have been considering partnering Vettel with Lewis Hamilton for 2018? Well, after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that prospect looks increasingly unlikely after the two drivers clashed on the streets of Baku.

It all came down to the safety car periods.

The first safety car saw Hamilton blast clear of the field and pull out a tremendous lead over Vettel, it was noted by his engineer that he may have been close to beating the safety car to the safety car line, not that Hamilton thought so.

So for the second safety car, Hamilton may have delayed his launch out of turn 16 a fraction, to perhaps not leave things quite so tight.

Vettel, keen to not be left behind was anticipating Hamilton to stamp on the accelerator, he didn?t and Vettel dully crashed into the back of him.

The German claimed the Brit brake testing him, telemetry and common sense would suggest otherwise, but in a rage of either fury or sheer embarrassment Vettel pulled up alongside Hamilton and rammed his Ferrari into the side of the Mercedes.

Vettel was handed a ten-second stop/go penalty and three penalty points on his license.

?When you hit somebody up the a*** it is your fault. No question. But then to drive next to him and hit him on purpose, I have never seen anything like this.

?To do that I don?t understand. Vettel is a decent guy normally. This I don?t understand. He is crazy. Lewis will hit him one day. Not with the car but with his fist.?
Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda told sport360.com.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told Sky Sports: ‘If a driver does that on purpose and in anger then you have to think about the size of the penalty. He is a four-time world champion and we are is setting examples in Formula 1 about what is allowed and what is not.’

Most people within Formula One, either in the paddock, the media and even the spectators believed that Vettel’s penalty was far too lenient.

Our own poll on VitalF1 also suggests that.

According to respected German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, Vettel was indeed close to being disqualified.

The ten-second stop/go penalty was issued due to the race stewards ‘fear of intervening too much in the World Championship with a draconian penalty. A sports commissioner said: ‘It was a narrow decision: Vettel was very near a black flag.’ as quoted by Sky Sports.

So ultimately one rule for Ferrari’s 2017 Formula One World Championship leader and one rule for everyone else.

 

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