Lewis Hamilton accuses title rival Sebastian Vettel of breaking safety car re-start rules

Ross McLean
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Lewis Hamilton, left, claimed his first victory of the season in Baku on Sunday (Source: Getty)

Four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has fanned the flames of his duel with Sebastian Vettel by claiming his title rival broke the rules when leading behind the safety car during Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Mercedes driver Hamilton accused Vettel of driving dangerously by consistently slowing down and speeding up and suggested the German was guilty of similar at the season-opening race in Australia.

Hamilton, who holds a four-point lead in the drivers’ championship following his first victory of the campaign in Baku, insists he will clarify the ruling with FIA Formula One director Charlie Whiting prior to the Spanish Grand Prix on 13 May.

“You are not allowed to start and stop, start and stop,” said Hamilton. “You’re not allowed to fake the guy behind. If there was not that rule, that’s what you’d do because eventually you’d catch them speeding.

“In Australia he accelerated and braked and I nearly went into the back of him and [in Baku] he did it four times and I need to speak to Charlie, because I don’t understand.

“I understand he passed it to the stewards but they didn’t do anything. They supposedly said everyone was doing it. But we’re the leaders and it cascades down, what the first car does everyone does the same thing.

“That sets a precedent, and it means everyone who is leading under a safety car can start-stop, start-stop. I need to get it rectified when I have the briefing next because clearly they don’t care about it.”

Vettel came fourth in Azerbaijan after looking on course to seal his 50th career win, while Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen finished second behind Hamilton and Sergio Perez of Force India third.

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