It was almost cringe-worthy the ‘love affair’ between title protagonists Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel during the first half of the season as the pair tipped over themselves in mutual admiration, but then came the Azerbaijan Grand Prix…
Much has been written about the incident that took place during the race in Baku, in a nutshell, Hamilton slowed down substantially while following the safety car and at Vettel tagged the back of the Mercedes. At that point, in anger, the Ferrari driver moved alongside Hamilton and swerved into him.
The pair looked set for an almighty battle before that, but the race stewards handed the German a penalty while the Briton was forced to pit for a loose headrest and allowed Daniel Ricciardo to claim an unlikely victory.
The fall-out from Vettel’s actions grabbed a chunk of post-race headlines and he was summoned to the FIA headquarters in Paris for an audience with Jean Todt, after which the Ferrari driver apologised to Hamilton.
Vettel admits, until now, that it was the biggest mistake he made during the course of the season and clearly regrets what was an obvious red mist moment that led to the road rage incident. Many believe it was a psychological blow that triggered the downfall that eventually cost him the title.
2017 Awards Notes: The Grand Prix 247 Awards were determined by reader polls which began on 2 December and ran until 8 December. An average of 3000 votes were cast per category, around 42,000 votes were cast in total. Thank you to those who participated.