Last weekend at the French Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel collided with Valtteri Bottas at the very start of the race, dropping both of them at the back of the field. While Vettel managed to finish fifth, Bottas finished seventh, at a racetrack where his teammate, Lewis Hamilton led every lap of the race.
For the collision, FIA awarded Vettel a 5s time penalty which was dubbed very lenient by the likes of Niki Lauda and Lewis Hamilton. He received a lot of bashing from the media, particularly the Italian media for his opening lap shunt. Surprisingly Hamilton decided to take his rival’s side, defending him in front of the press.
Now at the Austrian Grand Prix, the topic was raised again and Lewis Hamilton, being the gentleman he is, decided to take a stand for Vettel, again.
“I don’t feel like Sebastian needs criticising,” he said.
“He is a four-time world champion and he has won more than most. Everyone jumps at one single fault from any of us. People jump on the bandwagon and love to talk negative about someone.
“It is a strange scenario when a split-second decision can have a result as it did, yet a penalty of five seconds doesn’t appear to be significant enough, but that’s the rules and it was a penalty nonetheless and he served it and moved on.”
Vettel admitted to his mistake, dubbing it as a consequence of his good start. He took ownership of the clash and later even went on to apologise to Valtteri Bottas.
“He came up to me after the race an apologised, which was a nice thing, but there wasn’t much I could say as I had lost the points and couldn’t do anything about it,” Bottas said.
“He told me it was his mistake, admitted to it and that was good.”