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Vettel issues public apology, admits to overreaction in Hamilton clash

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Sebastian Vettel has issued a public apology for his clash with Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton in Azerbaijan, admitting that he “overreacted” after thinking he was being brake tested.

Vettel gave Hamilton a side-swipe with his Ferrari behind the safety car in response to the alleged brake test, resulting in a penalty for dangerous driving and a further investigation from the FIA.

The FIA announced on Monday that the matter had been resolved, with Vettel avoiding further punishment after admitting full responsibility for the clash and agreeing to take part in educational activities with junior series.

Vettel issued a statement soon after the ruling from the FIA in which he gave his side of the story before admitting that he overreacted to Hamilton’s move behind the safety car.

“Concerning the incidents of Baku I’d like to explain myself: during the re-start lap, I got surprised by Lewis and ran into the back of his car,” Vettel said.

“With hindsight, I don’t believe he had any bad intentions. In the heat of the action I then overreacted, and therefore I want to apologize to Lewis directly, as well as to all the people who were watching the race. I realize that I was not setting a good example.

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

“Therefore, I would like to apologize to the FIA. I accept and respect the decisions that were taken at today’s meeting in Paris, as well as the penalty imposed by the Stewards in Baku.

“I love this sport and I am determined to represent it in a way that can be an example for future generations.”

Usain Bolt, Bill Clinton among headline guests for USGP at COTA

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The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.

As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.

Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.

Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.

Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.

Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.

One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.