It was always going to be a tasty season between the two Formula One juggernauts, but what started off as bitter-sweet exchanges, light-hearted and harmless jabs have turned into full-on blows ever since the controversial events at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, when Vettel rammed into Hamilton’s car in a moment of anger and slight madness.
But the Brit has since been milking it dry and has taken the opportunity once again to taunt his arch rival by claiming the German has a “short fuse.”
It was all one big misunderstanding as Vettel wrongly assumed that Hamilton deliberately brake-tested him while they both followed a safety car.
And while Vettel has finally admitted to the preposterousness of his actions and offered something in the way of an admittance to liability and even a hint of an apology, Hamilton seems adamant to rub his face in it as he said to reporters: “When you look at your competitors, especially in tennis, you are always trying to find their weak spots.
“And it is evident where Sebastian’s is. There is not much more I can do to put pressure on him other than drive the way I am doing.
“His temper is one of his weaknesses… I am going to keep the other one to myself. I want to keep that in my pocket.
“But it will not affect the way I race. I want to race as hard as I can and I have the pace and the ability. I just need to continue to do the job I am doing.”
It appears as though Hamilton, who emerged fastest in the second practice round ahead of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, has supporters in his camp in the form of former teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, who found the German’s bizarre radio rants temperamental.
Ricciardo agrees with Hamilton
Ricciardo attributed Vettel’s rage to the German’s obsession with Formula One, revealing that he does not have any hobbies outside the sport.
He added: “It is emotional times at the moment. There are emotional scenes at the front of the grid and emotions are running high.
“It has bitten Seb in the love handles a few times before, too! We have heard him on the radio and he is a reactive person in the heat of the moment, so I guess you could call it a temper.
“I agree with Lewis in that he does things on the spur of the moment but that is his competitive personality, because he lives and breathes F1 and that is all.
"Lewis has shown he has other hobbies and interests outside of F1 and probably keeps him cool.”
Vettel admits he was wrong
Vettel was fortunate to escape punishment from Formula One’s governing body, but the championship leader did earn a 10-second-stop-and-go penalty.
Finally admitting that his actions were unsportsmanlike, Vettel said: "I did a mistake and I was surprised when Lewis seemed to slow down and I overreacted. It needs to be clear, I made a mistake.
"It was wrong and immature and I got the penalty in a race that was almost handed to me, so I have to move on.”
Hamilton, meanwhile, has been handed a five-place grid penalty for Sunday’s change for an unscheduled gearbox change.
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