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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.”

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”