FIA president Jean Todt believes Sebastian Vettel was punished enough for his incident with Lewis Hamilton in Baku.
In Thursday’s packed press conference, Hamilton questioned the absence of Todt to explain his decision not take any further action on Vettel, who subsequently apologised for actions.
But Todt was available for comment to the press on Saturday following the conclusion of qualifying for the Austrian Gand Prix and attempted to clarify the situation once and for all.
“Number one, each incident will be different,” Todt told Sky Sports. “And you will remember that the FIA and stewards have been blamed that we did not leave enough free racing. Which I can sympathise.”
“And I even heard ‘don’t do anything, let them deal on the track as they wish they want to be’.”
“Before the restart, after the Safety Car, it was an unacceptable incident between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. Then it’s up to the stewards to decide what should be done.”
“And myself I was very interested, I was watching TV, and I was curious to see what would have happened.
“And of course it would be completely irrelevant from the president of the FIA watching from his home on the TV to call the stewards and tell them what to do.”
Todt reckons that Vettel’s punishment of a 10-second stop-and-go penalty was enough because it effectively cut his possible points haul to more than half.
He added: “The stewards decided that Sebastian Vettel should have a ten-second stop-and-go [penalty].”
“Which is quite a severe offence, which means it modified the result from being winner to being the fourth of the race. So 25 to 12 points. So it means that Vettel lost 13 points because of that. And again it’s up to the stewards to decide.”
“The reason why as president of the FIA I felt uncomfortable it was because from what I heard Lewis Hamilton did not do anything different from what he did at the previous Safety Car.
“So after the race there were some comments from the team and Sebastian Vettel on how unhappy they were and how unfair this decision was made.”
Todt was also quizzed about why he felt the need to re-visit the incident and launch another investigation.
He said: “I thought that we needed to understand better what had happened.
“That is why I asked the deputy president for sport Graham Stoker [and] the head of Formula One safety Charlie Whiting to speak with Sebastian Vettel to try and understand better.
“After that they came to me, they asked me to see the driver, which I did.”