Vettel escapes sanction from FIA for colliding with Hamilton

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, front, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, second, and Williams driver Felipe Massa of Brazil of Germany steer their cars during the Formula One Grand Prix of Europe at the Baku circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Sunday, June 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

PARIS (AP) — Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel escaped punishment from Formula One’s governing body on Monday after deliberately colliding with Lewis Hamilton at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last month.

The FIA met with Vettel and Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene at its headquarters in Paris, and president Jean Todt said the issue should be closed.

But he warned against “any repetition of such behavior,” FIA said in a statement.

Vettel admitted to responsibility for the incident and apologized, FIA added.

He later posted a statement on his website in which he apologized for setting a bad example.

“I had no intention at anytime to put Lewis in danger, but I understand that I caused a dangerous situation,” he wrote.

Vettel swerved his Ferrari into the side of Hamilton’s Mercedes when they were behind the safety car approaching the midway point of the race. Vettel, who said he did it in response to a dangerous braking move by Hamilton right in front of him, was given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty.

Hamilton said Vettel “disgraced himself.”

Vettel and Hamilton, who have won a combined seven F1 titles and more than 100 races, have been fighting for the title in an absorbing season so far. They have three wins each, and Vettel leads Hamilton in the overall championship by 14 points after eight races.

“Top-level sport is an intense environment in which tempers can flare,” Todt said in the statement. “However, it is the role of top sportsmen to deal with that pressure calmly and to conduct themselves in a manner that not only respects the regulations of the sport but which befits the elevated status they enjoy. Sportsmen must be cognizant of the impact their behavior can have on those who look up to them. They are heroes and role models and to millions of fans worldwide.”



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