Coming into the weekend in Austria, the main talking remained the relationship and the rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel following their heated exchange a week back in Baku during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. During that race, the two drivers clobbered on a turn right behind the safety car with Vettel leaving a mark on Hamilton. If things weren’t bad enough already, it got worse in the post race press interaction when they shared differing views on the incident.
Since then, Vettel had made a public apology after the German had accused the Mercedes driver of ‘brake-testing’ him. Although Hamilton accepted the apology and said he still has “the utmost respect” for Vettel, he chose not to play along when asked to shake hands with his rival in post-qualifying interviews.
Although to be fair, they had already shaken hands after stepping out from their respective cars following the Austrian Grand Prix qualifying, where Valtteri Bottas is on pole position, without being prompted to do so. But later, an invitation from Sky Italia’s Davide Valsecchi to make a second public handshake was turned down by the Briton.
“The car was really good. I was hoping for the last run but it was a bit of an anti climax with the yellow flags,” said Vettel, who will fancy his chances of a fourth win of the season. “It’s a great track, the car has been phenomenal. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow, it should be a good race.”
“It was the story going into the weekend – was this resolved? Was it all water under the bridge?,” said former driver Damon Hill for Sky F1. “You’d expect Lewis to be able to say it’s done and he’s satisfied Sebastian has apologised. I understand him not wanting to be forced into a handshake in public like that. I think he wants to do it in his own way in his own time.”