Vettel keen to avoid overhyping Hamilton F1 clash, wants to move on

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Sebastian Vettel has called on the Formula 1 community to move on from his clash with Lewis Hamilton behind the safety car in Azerbaijan two weeks ago, having apologized to his rival and expressed his regret over the incident.

Vettel was deemed to have driven dangerously when he gave Hamilton’s car a side-swipe in Baku, reacting after believing he was brake-tested by the Mercedes driver.

Vettel was hit with an in-race penalty before being further investigated by the FIA, who opted against taking further action when the Ferrari racer took full responsibility for his actions.

Facing the media in Thursday’s FIA press conference in Austria, Vettel said that he would like to move on from the incident after speaking privately with Hamilton to clear things up.

“I had the chance to quickly talk to Lewis after the race but I don’t want to pump this up more than it is already,” Vettel said.

“I think it is my right, our right, to keep this between us. But I think I’ve said everything I need to say.

“I think it was the wrong decision. Obviously I got a penalty in the race and lost a potential race win. We couldn’t foresee Lewis was running into a problem with his headrest but it could have been a lot more points at stake.

“It was the wrong move to drive alongside him and hit his tires. That’s what you’re all here to hear about, but there’s not much more to talk about.

“At the time I was surprised, it felt like Lewis hit the brakes and I couldn’t stop running into the back of his car but as I said in the statement and afterwards I don’t think there was any intention and that he actually brake-tested me.

“That’s why I was upset and overreacted. Am I proud of moment? No. Can I take it back? No. Do I regret it? Yes.

“So I don’t think we need to drag it out any further.”

With the clash now behind him, Vettel has turned his attention to this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix where he does not think the incident will have any bearing on his decisions behind the wheel.

“I am quite happy to get into the car tomorrow. I think come practice, come race day you try to do your best,” Vettel said.

“Obviously you’re very busy driving the car, when you fight someone. We know that overtaking is not easy so I don’t think you have much time to think, you’re planning an overtake etc.

“I think here I would say that it doesn’t impact on the next race and who you’re racing.”

The clash with Hamilton was not the first example of Vettel’s emotions boiling over behind the wheel, with the four-time champion risking the wrath of the FIA in Mexico last year when he insulted the race director over the radio.

Vettel was asked directly in Thursday’s press conference if he felt he had a problem with his temperament, to which he said: “I don’t think so. I can see why you might believe it’s not.

“I think I have faced a lot of situations which have been quite hot, but I don’t think so.”