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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton relationship 'not the same' since collision in Baku

German admitted blame for the clash during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix but escaped retrospective punsihment from the FIA.

Sebastian Vettel leads Lewis Hamilton by 14 points in the Formula One drivers' championship standings. Dominic Ebenbichler / Reuters
Sebastian Vettel leads Lewis Hamilton by 14 points in the Formula One drivers' championship standings. Dominic Ebenbichler / Reuters

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel has said his friendship with Formula One title rival Lewis Hamilton is damaged after he "messed up" during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The German, a four-time world champion, twice collided with Hamilton behind the safety car in Baku, the second time deliberately driving into the leading Mercedes-GP car.

Vettel received a 10 second stop-and-go penalty during the race but later escaped further punishment following an FIA investigation, while apologising and admitting blame for the incident.

Hamilton was furious following the race, describing Vettel's actions as "disgraceful". He later accepted the German's apology, but Vettel has said in an interview with The Times that their off-track relationship has been hurt.

"Actually it's not the same, because I messed up," Vettel said.

"So I told [Hamilton] that I understand if he's not happy and not cool about it. But I hope time will fix things.

"We have our own lives, we're grown up, we're very different. His way, what he thinks are cool and what he prioritises in his life are very different to what I prioritise in my life.

"But that's fine. We get along. We got along and I hope we still do."

Vettel and Hamilton are renewing their rivalry at the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend, and Hamilton made clear during Thursday's press conference that he believes the FIA should have done more over the incident.

"I don't think anything changes," he said. "My opinion stays the same.

"With all due respect, Jean [Todt, the FIA president] should be sitting here next to us to answer some questions because they didn't change anything on the Monday. So the message that was sent still remains the same."