Police are investigating an assault on a car driven by a Formula 1 driver after a grand prix in Azerbaijan.
On the final lap of the Baku Grand Prix on Sunday, championship leader Sebastian Vettel was involved in a collision with Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who was leading the race.
Vettel spun, which forced him and his car to come to a stop. His rival, who had completed his lap, took advantage and went past him into second place.
Vettel and Ricciardo had to go to the medical center, while Ricciardo missed a wheel hit his car. However, Vettel’s view of the incident changed after watching video footage of the incident afterwards.
“There was contact at the last corner and I’m not so sure that he actually meant to hit me,” Vettel said after the race. “Because he had the lane to his left… I was too focused on where I was braking.”
The resulting clash between Vettel and Ricciardo led to race stewards investigating the incident.
“In the rear, a rear wheel contact may have caused any possible damage to the wheel… that is sufficient cause for further investigation,” the stewards’ decision read.
The FIA, the motorsport governing body, is investigating the incident, issuing an “after-apology.”
“First and foremost, I want to extend my deepest apologies to the FIA President, Valtteri Bottas and the stewards after the third race of the championship where we had the close call on the turning 5 right-hand corner,” Vettel said.
“I can see how Daniel, Red Bull and the team appreciated the apology and acknowledgement that what happened was not deliberate… a car has to get past another, in the end, it was an unfortunate and we all know what happens in our sport on occasion. I don’t feel I deserve to have any more than the reprimand and the points that I have lost, but if there is anything that can be done to make sure that this won’t happen again then we have to keep it.”
Vettel, who crossed the line third, was handed 12 points for the incident and 20 for the damage to his car, leaving him 29 points behind Ricciardo and two behind Lewis Hamilton.
Matt Ford is a special correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2012 as a London-based correspondent.
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