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- Updated: May 15, 2017
After a thrilling battle that culminated in Lewis Hamilton grabbing his second win of the season, the Brit and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel disagreed on who was to blame for the wheel-banging moment which nearly ended the fight prematurely on lap 38.
For Vettel to harbour any chances of toppling Hamilton and securing his third win of the season, it was pivotal for the German to stay ahead of Hamilton as he was finishing the event on the slower, but more durable, medium tyres.
Hamilton was on the soft tyre at his last stop after Mercedes flipped his strategy earlier in the contest, a response to Vettel snatching the lead at the start.
Vettel took the inside line and then drifted across the corner — taking the normal racing line — while Hamilton held firm, with the pair banging wheels. Hamilton bailed out across the kerbs and had to slot in behind the championship leader.
Though Hamilton would eventually go on to win, he complained that he had kept enough space between the Ferrari driver to expect the German to give him space on the inside.
Regarding the event, Hamilton said, “I think in the heat of the moment it’s difficult to know from the outside view what it’s like. I felt I was ran out of road and I was alongside, it was definitely close but again as I said, that’s how racing should be and I loved it, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
In response, Vettel said, “Then he came out and I was a bit surprised when we came out that is was already so close. I tried to late so late as possible in Turn 1, a love tap. I don’t know if we touched but I managed to stay ahead so it was really close.”
Here’s an extract of the conversation…
Hamilton: “….At the end, came out so close together …. which was very, very close into Turn 1. [Turns to Vettel and laughs] I gave you space otherwise we would have touched!”
Vettel: “I thought I gave you space too!”
Hamilton: “Eyyy, not really, but….” [Both laugh]
Hamilton: “Definitely didn’t give me much space, but it was close, it was cool.”
Vettel: “You’re still here!”
Hamilton: “Yeah…. Just!”