Baku’s incendiary incident provided priceless publicity for the sport but its subsequent judgments need to be more understandable for drivers and fans
The 2017 Formula One season finally reached ignition point in Baku and what a glorious conflagration it has started. Who can not be revelling in the prospect of a championship fight between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel defined not by the buddy movie soundbites of mutual respect that had preceded it but by the edge and needle that characterises F1’s truly great rivalries. What had been a gripping tussle for the title now might just have the ingredients to match the heights of Senna v Prost and Piquet v Mansell.
It was, fittingly, a heated moment itself that brought the bromance to an end. When Vettel swerved into Hamilton’s car in Azerbaijan the moment everyone had been waiting for arrived. “The gloves are off” was the pleasingly gleeful response from the Mercedes executive director, Toto Wolff. We shall have to wait until Austria to see what happens next time the two get in the ring but in the meantime the incident remains controversial and still potentially has greater ramifications – not least with the announcement on Wednesday that the incident will now be examined by the FIA to decide whether to take further action.