Sebastian Vettel should not be punished further for Azerbaijan clash, says Jenson Button

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel
Lewis Hamilton (left) trails Sebastian Vettel by 14 points following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Jenson Button believes Sebastian Vettel should not be punished further for his collision with Lewis Hamilton in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver faces a disciplinary hearing on 3 July after swerving into Hamilton's Mercedes.

Vettel was given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty in the race on Sunday.

Button tweeted: "Azerbaijan GP was a pleasure to watch because adrenalin and emotions were high. What Vettel did was silly but he's been punished. Move on."

He added: "A driver at racing speed forces another driver off track, he would get less punishment than a 10-second drive-through."

Vettel's actions in Azerbaijan will be analysed at a meeting called by Jean Todt, president of governing body the FIA, who has spent much of his term campaigning for better road safety.

The German was following Hamilton as they prepared for a re-start and ran into the back of him when the Briton did not accelerate out of the penultimate corner, while Vettel did.

Believing Hamilton had deliberately slowed to cause him problems, Vettel pulled alongside him, gesticulated and his car swerved, banging wheels and causing the Ferrari to jump briefly into the air.

A follower of Button's on Twitter questioned his view, asking him whether he felt 'road-rage offences' should be brushed aside.

The 37-year-old replied: "You can't compare racing with driver on the road as racing wouldn't exist."

Vettel has been on a warning since last year's Mexican Grand Prix, when he was penalised for moving under braking while defending from Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and, angered by the driving of the Australian's team-mate Max Verstappen, swore over the radio at race director Charlie Whiting.

No action was taken against Vettel at that time, after he wrote letters of apology to Todt and Whiting, but he was told that any similar incident would lead to an FIA International Tribunal.

Vettel ended up finishing fourth in Baku, one place ahead of Hamilton, who was delayed by having to stop to have a loose headrest replaced.

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel
The incident that started it all: Vettel alleged Hamilton 'brake-tested' him when the race was restarted after a red flag
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel
The moment two heavyweights come to blows

What does an F1 boss think?

Ross Brawn, F1's managing director of motorsport, told BBC Sport that the incident "shouldn't have happened".

Brawn, who worked with Todt at Ferrari with Michael Schumacher, said: "Sebastian did something he shouldn't have done and got penalised for it.

"If we hadn't had a technical problem we would be sat here with Lewis having scored substantially more points than he did, so Lewis would have won the race and that would have resulted in a different complexion.

"It shouldn't have happened; it shows the passion of the guys fighting for the World Championship. That's the passion we want to see.

"Sebastian will reflect on what happened and learn from it. We want to see that passion in the future but perhaps not as raw as we saw in Baku."

Brawn added: "It wasn't pre-meditated that's for sure, it was reaction to huge amount of adrenalin and passion running through these guys' systems."

Although Hamilton called Vettel "a disgrace" and said he did not want to discuss the incident with him, Brawn said he believed the respect each had shown for the other so far this season would ultimately not be affected.

"There's huge respect between them and that hasn't changed," Brawn added. "There's a spike in that respect which will calm down.

"You don't have one incident which destroys everything before. It wasn't that severe of an event. Some fierce competition fought in the right way is what Formula 1 is about.

"Perhaps this will add a nice edge to the competition but we're not advocating one approach of the other.

"There was heat, several red hot moments and your perception of what's going on can sometimes get through.

"I don't believe Lewis did anything wrong and Sebastian misread the situation, which is understandable in the intensity of the battle they were having."

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