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Hamilton critical of Vettel SC restart tactics, FIA respond

Written by  May 01, 2018

Lewis Hamilton has criticised the tactics employed by Sebastian Vettel at the restarts after Safety Car period this past Sunday in Baku.

The Mercedes driver believes his fellow four-time world champion may have been over-stepping the rules on how he behaved when trying to get the jump on him and avoid being overtaken.

In Azerbaijan, given the length of the main straight, judging the restarts is particularly difficult with drivers being known to re-catch the Safety Car before it has returned to the pits or be overtaken into Turn 1 given the high potential of a slipstream.

"You are not allowed to start and stop, start and stop. You're not allowed to fake the guy behind," Hamilton claimed post-race.

"If there was not that rule, that's what you'd do because eventually, you'd catch them sleeping."

Many praised Vettel's judgement in Baku as he waited until almost reaching the grid before picking up speed, giving what would go on to be a three-second margin after the first lap at racing speed.

However, the Briton disagreed and was dismayed at the FIA's lack of interest.

I need to speak to [race director] Charlie [Whiting] because I don't understand," added the reigning world champion.

"I understand he passed it to the stewards but they didn't do anything. They supposedly said everyone was doing it.bBut we're the leaders and it cascades down, what the first car does everyone does the same thing.

"That now sets a precedent, and it means everyone who is leading under a safety car can start-stop, start-stop.

"I need to get it rectified when I have the briefing next because clearly, they don't care about it. I will expect it from him next time and I will try to prepare."

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Whiting was asked about the comments Hamilton made but made it clear he felt there was nothing he saw which justified an investigation.

Vettel also responded and claimed the reason was purely due to trying to warm up his tyres.

“The Safety Car should speed up,” he stated. “It was difficult with our tyres to keep the temperature up.”

The 30-year-old also had a little jibe adding: “Maybe after so many years of a Mercedes it would be nice to have a Ferrari Safety Car instead.”

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