Formula 1 lewis hamilton accuses sebastian vettel of cheating electricity trading strategies


According to Hamilton, Vettel violated one of the rules involving accelerating and braking when the lights on the safety car are turned out and the car makes its way off the track. Here is the rule that Hamilton believes Vettel broke, according to ESPN. It is stated in Article 39.13 of the sport’s regulations.

“In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the Safety Car returns to the pits, from the point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.”

Hamilton believes that Vettel did not proceed at a pace involving no erratic acceleration or braking once the lights on the safety car were turned out and the car made its way off the track. Instead, he believes that Vettel continued to accelerate and brake, and he even claims that he lined his car up to the right of him to avoid what could have been a collision. Here is what he had to say about the matter, according to ESPN.

“The rules are that, when the Safety Car goes, you are not allowed to start and stop, start and stop. You are not allowed to gas and then brake and you are not allowed to fake the guy behind. Naturally, if there was not that rule that is what you would do because it would eventually catch them sleeping. But you are not allowed to do that. You are allowed to weave but you are not allowed to start and stop, start and stop — that’s against the rules. If you look at all the times and examples — particularly the four restarts I did last year — I didn’t do that and I abided by the rules.

“In Australia, Sebastian accelerated and then braked and I nearly went up the back end of him. In Baku he did it like four times. I need to speak to Charlie [Whiting, FIA race director] because I don’t fully understand it. As far as I’m aware Charlie passed it on to the stewards and the stewards didn’t do anything about it. I think the stewards supposedly said that all the other cars were doing it, but we are the leaders so it cascades down and it’s a domino effect. So what the first car does, everyone does the same thing.

“If the rules aren’t clear, that now sets a precedent, so anyone who is leading a grand prix under a Safety Car can start and stop — and that goes the same down to Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula 4 because they are not going to get penalised. I don’t understand, because the rule is that you’re not allowed to. So I need to get that rectified when we next have the briefing, because clearly they don’t care about it and if that’s the case we will see more of it. I will expect that from him next time I’m racing and I will prepare for it. If you noticed, I already put my car to the right to avoid a collision because he was starting and stopping, otherwise I would tuck in behind.”

“I think he [Vettel] controlled it very well but it’s up to the leading driver to say when we go. Unlike some other series, they have an acceleration zone, a place where you can accelerate. You can’t do it before or after that. Once it goes green, the Safety Car comes into the pits, it’s up to the leader to decide when he is going to go.

“This is a tricky place, they catch the Safety Car too early if they go too quickly. I think Seb controlled it well. There was a bit of a complaint from Lewis that he wasn’t going at a constant rate, but if you look down the field, there’s a few places where that happens. To expect them to go at one speed doesn’t happen. So long as no one does anything dangerous, we’re happy.”

However, whether dangerous or not, what Hamilton is saying is that what Vettel did is against the rules. Not all rules are in place for safety purposes, although this one could certainly impact driver safety, so even if nothing bad happened as a result of the violation, Hamilton is right in that it sets a dangerous precedent when it goes unpunished since it is against the rules to begin with.