Rivals Hamilton, Vettel clash as Ricciardo wins chaotic race

Rivals Hamilton, Vettel clash as Ricciardo wins chaotic race”

The race was dramatic right from get-go, with a surpising victor in Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, several instances of teammates ramming into each other, a red flag and three safety cars, but the realms of news space were dominated by four-time world champion Vettel and three-time champion Hamilton.

So irked was the Ferrari driver by what he perceived to be so-called "brake testing" by the Briton, where a driver deliberately slows down to force another auto to brake, he immediately pulled up alongside Hamilton, gestured his dismay, and swerved into the Mercedes, causing a clash of wheels.

Then on lap 34 race control slapped Vettel with a 10-second stop-go penalty for "dangerous driving" for the incident with Hamilton.

Stroll could even have grabbed second had Valtteri Bottas not swept by on the run to the chequered flag, the Mercedes driver recovering in stunning fashion from a first lap shunt with countryman Kimi Raikkonen.

Under the safety vehicle, then race-leader Hamilton slowed suddenly and the following Vettel could not avoid making contact from behind. "I was honestly speechless afterwards and on the cool down lap, I was just giggling like a little schoolboy".

Told of Vettel's planned call, Hamilton said: 'He doesn't have my number'.

Vettel was also given three points on his driver's licence, increasing his total to nine, and any further misdemeanour before he loses two next month could see him face a one-race ban.

Vettel, 14 points ahead of Hamilton in the title race, claimed he will seek out his rival to clear the air before the next round of the championship.

Vettel took the 4th position, and Hamilton finished 5th. No question. But then to drive next to him and hit him on objective, I have never seen anything like this.

Hamilton appeared not to accelerate out of Turn 15, the penultimate corner, and Vettel hit him up the back, damaging the Ferrari's front wing and part of the Mercedes' floor. I don't think it was deliberate of him to brake-check me, I don't think he's that kind of guy.

"But I think we're gaining performance and speed to be able to compete for race wins as we're getting more and more performance of the auto".

Hamilton, who lost victory in the race because he had to pit to have a loose head restraint fixed, responded: "I didn't (brake-test him)".

"I think that was just not necessary".

"Today was obviously a different Sebastian than we saw in those seven races, and I like to think that I remained respectful", Hamilton said.

"If he wants to prove that he is a man we should do it out of the auto, face-to-face".

Vettel was handed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for the incident and Lauda says the stewards could have disqualified the championship leader, such were the severity of his actions.

When Hamilton was asked if Vettel's actions proved he was not as mentally strong as had previously been thought, the Briton was unequivocal.

"In the end, I don't agree with the penalty that I got, because if you penalise me then you should penalise us both because that was not the way to do it", the championship leader was quoted as saying on the F1 website.

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