It was borderline cringe-worthy, the ‘bromance’ that developed between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel as it became evident that they were the main title contenders for this year’s Formula 1 World Championship crown.
The show of mutual admiration, and back slapping is now a thing of the past thanks to the widely reported incident here>>> between the two during an action packed and chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix – and Mercedes chief Toto Wolff is not fussed that the rivalry has now been seriously ignited.
After the race in Baku, Wolff said candidly, “Nobody wanted to see the schmoozing anyway, so now the gloves are off. The sport needs the rivalry. What we have seen today is the ingredient of a great championship.”
“They are warriors. They are at war at that moment. They are fighting for the race wins and the championship. At a certain stage, the best ones that compete for the world championship in that phase of their careers can’t be friends. Maybe we’ve seen the limit of that respect today,” ventured Wolff
The incident in question took place after the race restart report here>>> and the penalty meted out to Vettel was for a swerve at Hamilton as the Ferrari driver drove alongside the Mercedes in an effort to demonstrate his anger.
Wolff finds it hard to believe that Vettel collided with Hamilton on purpose, “I can’t almost imagine he would shunt him on purpose. I would like to speak to him personally rather than making a judgement.”
“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.”
The FIA investigated the incident and decided to penalise Vettel, and confirmed that they found no evidence of Hamilton ‘brake testing’ Vettel. Report here>>>
Wolff added, “Lewis didn’t do anything wrong, we have seen that on the data. He is absolutely fine.”
Big Question: Is this the beginning of the ‘Cold War’ between Lewis and Seb?