Sebastian Vettel has defended his actions behind the safety car at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton accused him of breaking the rules. Hamilton was angry that Vettel weaved across the track slowly before bursting away to maintain the lead.
After the first-lap chaos brought the safety car to the track, Vettel backed the field up significantly before catching them cold to negate the fight into turn one.
Hamilton said after the race: "You are not allowed to start and stop, start and stop. You're not allowed to fake the guy behind. If there was not that rule, that's what you'd do because eventually you'd catch them sleeping.
"In Australia he accelerated and braked and I nearly went into the back of him and [in Baku] he did it four times and I need to speak to Charlie [Whiting, race director], because I don't understand."
Vettel shrugged off the criticism, however, claiming he could not drive any faster due to the pace being carried by Bernd Maylander in the safety car.
"The safety car should speed up," Vettel said. "It was difficult with our tyres to keep the temperature up."
And Vettel had a cheeky solution to upping the pace of the safety car: "Maybe after so many years of a Mercedes it would be nice to have a Ferrari safety car instead."
Whiting revealed that the FIA had seen nothing wrong with Vettel's tactics.
"I think he [Vettel] controlled it very well but it's up to the leading driver to say when we go," Whiting explained.
"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."
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