Baku, Azerbaijan: Lewis Hamilton reopened old wounds on Monday when the Mercedes driver accused title rival Sebastian Vettel of breaking the rules during Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Hamilton repeated his complaint made during Sunday’s race when he accused the German Ferrari driver of slowing and accelerating, almost stopping and then re-starting, while they followed the Safety Car.
"The rules are that when the safety car goes, you’re not allowed to start and stop, start and stop,” he said. “You’re not allowed to gas and then brake. You’re not allowed to fake the guy behind.
"Because, naturally, if there was not that rule, that’s what you’d do – because, eventually, you’d catch them sleeping. You’re not allowed to do that.
"Every re-start I’ve done...I’ve abided by that…. In Australia, Sebastian accelerated and then braked and I nearly went up the back end of him and here he did it like maybe four times.”
Hamilton’s unexpected victory, his first in seven outings and the 63rd of his career, lifted him to the top of the championship for the first time this season, but left him seeking clarification on the rules from official race director Charlie Whiting.
It also revived memories of the pair's infamous clash last year when, in a fit of road rage after accusing Hamilton of ‘brake-testing’ him behind a safety car, Vettel drove his Ferrari at Hamilton’s Mercedes, banging wheels deliberately.
Hamilton added that the stewards’ decision following Sunday’s race had set a precedent that permitted erratic driving behind the safety car in future.