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'Vettel's escape is wrong'

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 05-07-2017
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The FIA's decision to take no further action against Sebastian Vettel for his collision with Lewis Hamilton is "wrong" and "sets a terrible example" to the next generation of drivers, according to this week's F1 Report guests. 

Vettel escaped further punishment for steering into Hamilton's Mercedes during the Azerbaijan GP after admitting "full responsibility" and extending "his sincere apologies" at a meeting with the FIA in Paris.

It means the only action taken against the four-time world champion for the incident is the 10-second stop-and-go penalty he served during the race and the three points added to his super licence.

Vettel admitted in a statement that he had "over-reacted in the heat of the action" but former F1 driver and race steward Mark Blundell believes the Ferrari driver has been let off the hook.

"If I'm brutally honest, I didn't think the penalty was harsh enough. I looked at what went on and I understood a bit of the gamesmanship. What I didn't understand was the retaliation," Blundell said on the F1 Report, which first airs at 8.30pm on Wednesday on Sky Sports F1.

"I think what Vettel did was uncalled for, unnecessary, and I don't understand the FIA saying he's got to go and educate young drivers.

"Every young driver that I know of was watching that Grand Prix and what they've seen happen, and now what they've seen as the consequence after, doesn't stack up. I've got a little bit of an issue with it I've got to admit.

"This is me talking as a former F1 driver. I understand the heat of the moment, I understand when you're in the race. But the fact of the matter is the race under the Safety Car so it wasn't actually 'on' at that point. It's not acceptable and I think there needs to be more done.

"He's a four-time world champion and is a role model. You can't go around doing that."

Sky F1's Marc Priestley joins Blundell on the show and he maintains Vettel should have been disqualified from the race.

"He's a role model and it sets a terrible example. The stewards were weak on the day," Priestley said.

"I thought there should have been a black flag and so I think when they revisited it in Paris this week, he should've had his points taken away.

"Jean Todt is president of the FIA and he has this big push for road safety around the world, and yet he is letting one of his main role models, the four-time world champion, to deliberately have a road rage incident. He should be stamping down on this, not backing off.

"I'm a Formula 1 fan, I want to see this championship go right to the wire, I don't want it to be decided by someone having points deducted. But, we can't let that carry on in Formula 1."

Todt was previously team boss of Ferrari before becoming president of the FIA but Blundell does not think the 71-year-old's former connections would have impacted on the final decision.

"Todt has to be impartial. He's the president of the FIA. But it's not his sole decision," Blundell said.

"It's a collective decision after they've heard reflections of the story from Ferrari, from Vettel. OK he apologises, but it's not enough.

"The biggest, biggest, biggest thing for me is that you can't go around doing what he did, with the next generation and generation after that thinking that it's OK.

"[It suggests] you can do anything you want on the circuit and all you will get is a slap on the wrist. It's wrong."

Immediately after the Azerbaijan GP, Vettel refused to accept any responsibility for the collision and Priestley adds the FIA's outcome makes it look like he only apologised to escape punishment.

"People will be thinking it only takes an apology [to appease the FIA]," he said.

"We don't know what happened in that room in Paris and I imagine that will never be fully released. People at home will be thinking he's been called into an office and been told 'if you say sorry, we'll let you off'. That's what it looks like and that shouldn't be the case.

"He should have apologised at the time and admitted the crime. It feels like he is only admitting it because it's going to impact on his eventual punishment."

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