What happened between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix?

This year’s Formula One championship came alive in Azerbaijan after Sebastian Vettel was accused of deliberately ramming into title rival Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel was punished for the incident as he was forced to serve a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, but he still managed to strengthen his championship lead over Hamilton after the Briton was forced into an unscheduled pit stop when his headrest came loose.

Hamilton has since suggested he isn’t interested in talking to Vettel about the incident. “I’m just going to do my talking on the track, that’s most important for me,” he said.

Here, we take a look at Sunday’s high-profile clash and the ramifications for Vettel, Hamilton and the title battle.

So, what happened?

Hamilton had already complained that the safety car was driving too slowly and feared it would lead to an accident. On lap 19, Hamilton bunched up the pack before the restart, as is within his rights, but Vettel drove into the back of his Mercedes, appearing to have misjudged his actions. Vettel felt Hamilton had slowed down on purpose and remonstrated his anger by pulling alongside the Brit and ramming into his car.

Who was in the wrong?

The stewards sided with Hamilton as they slapped Vettel with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, and latterly three points on his licence for dangerous driving. Hamilton accused Vettel of “disgracing himself”, while Niki Lauda, non-executive chairman of Hamilton’s Mercedes team, said Vettel was “crazy”. Vettel, for his part, denied any wrongdoing, although the consensus in the paddock was that he had clearly been at fault.

Hamilton suggested that Vettel had “disgraced himself” with his actions (Getty)

So, how did Vettel end up ahead of Hamilton?

For Hamilton, it looked as though the win was in his pocket, but his headrest – which sits above the cockpit – suddenly started to come loose. Hamilton frantically tried to repair the flapping piece of Mercedes bodywork by holding it down with one…

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