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Vettel escapes further punishment over Baku road rage

Ferrari’s German driver Sebastian Vettel steers his car during the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the Baku City Circuit in Baku on June 25, 2017 © AFP/File / Alexander NEMENOV

PARIS, France, Jul 3 – Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel’s collision with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was deliberate but he will face no further sanction, Formula One’s governing body the FIA ruled on Monday.

Germany’s Vettel had driven his Ferrari into the back of Hamilton’s Mercedes on lap 19 of the tempestuous race in Baku last month bumping the Briton on the wheel at high speed.

The FIA held a meeting with Vettel and his Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene at its headquarters in Paris on Monday.

As the four-time world champion admitted full responsibility for the incident and offered a full apology the FIA decided no further sanction would be necessary.

“Top level sport is an intense environment in which tempers can flare,” FIA president Jean Todt said.

“However, it is the role of top sportsmen to deal with the pressure calmly.”

Vettel incurred a 10-second penalty and three points on his licence, increasing his total to nine.

He will have to stay out of trouble in Austria or face a possible one-race ban for reaching 12 penalty points inside a 12-month period.

“Sebastian Vettel extended his sincere apologies to the FIA and the wider motor sport family,” the FIA statement continued.

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“He additionally committed to devote personal time over the next 12 months to educational activities across a variety of FIA championships and events, including in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, at an FIA Formula 4 Championship to be defined and at the FIA stewards’ seminar.”

The chaotic race at Baku was won by Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull as Vettel finished fourth and Hamilton fifth after the Englishman was forced to make an extra pit-stop from a commanding leading position to repair a loose headrest.

Championship leader Vettel, who turned 30 on Monday, will now start this week’s Austrian Grand Prix with his 14-point margin over title rival Hamilton intact.

In the world championship standings Vettel leads Hamilton by 14 points with 12 races still remaining.

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