Valtteri Bottas: Second Safety Car made podium possible


Lewis Hamilton branded world championship leader Sebastian Vettel as a "disgrace" and challenged the German to "prove you're a man" after he deliberately crashed into him in yesterday's tempestuous Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Ferrari star Vettel was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty for "dangerous driving" after he deliberately drove into Hamilton s Mercedes while both were following the safety auto.

It was Australian Ricciardo's first victory since he won the Malaysian Grand Prix previous year and it lifted him up to fourth in the standings on 92 points, behind Vettel on 153 and Hamilton on 139.

Thereafter, Ricciardo stayed clear of trouble during three safety auto periods, one of which saw the race red flagged, to inherit a fifth career win.

Hamilton made it clear he believed the Ferrari driver rammed him deliberately during the controversial thriller.

Vettel, who claimed Hamilton had "brake-tested" him, was handed a 10-second stop and go penalty but Hamilton claimed the punishment allowed his rival to get away with risky driving that put them both at risk.

Stroll could even have grabbed second had Valtteri Bottas not swept by on the run to the chequered flag, the Mercedes driver recovering in stunning fashion from a first lap shunt with countryman Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton, who as race leader retained the right to control the pace under Safety Car conditions, was furious after that row in Baku, claiming that Vettel had "disgraced" himself as a previously respectful title battle between two friends took on a somewhat nasty edge.

Hamilton said: "I think it's just not driver conduct". "Vettel literally came alongside and hit me", the Briton said, and both drivers stuck to their story after the race was finished.

Ricciardo had worked his way into a podium position from 10th on the grid, with the Australian pulling off an audacious move on Williams duo Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll to move into third after the race restarted following a red flag.

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His teammate Max Verstappen retired with engine problems, then Daniil Kvyat parked his Toro Rosso, prompting a safety auto which would eventually see Vettel and Hamilton collide behind it.

"I think F1 is for grown-ups".

With the data proving Hamilton had not done a brake-test on Vettel, Lauda thinks it's fair to say Vettel was at fault for both incidents - the original collision and the swipe to the right. Stroll, 18, completed the podium.

"They've seen today how a four-time champion behaves and I think, hopefully, that doesn't ripple into the younger categories".

But the flashpoint came when he was leading the field during the second safety vehicle period, with Vettel in close attendance.

Asked about the incident in the immediate aftermath Hamilton appeared reluctant to offer a view: "Looking forward to getting home", he said.

The Azerbaijan GP has also helped Vettel maintain his lead in the championship standings with 153 points, while Hamilton sits second with 139 points.

"From my side, you know, I was on the inside, he was obviously outside, he did brake later and he was kind of ahead but I was on the inside".

"We are grown-ups, and we are expected to race, use our elbows, and that is what people want". "Hamilton did a lot worse than Materazzi". Vettel will be faced with a one-race ban if he reaches 12 at the Austrian Grand Prix a week on Sunday.

After eight races, Vettel leads Hamilton by 14 points. It was also Stroll's first career podium.