Jenson Button has weighed into Lewis Hamilton’s row with Sebastian Vettel by insisting that the Ferrari driver should not face further punishment for causing a deliberate collision in Azerbaijan.
Vettel is under investigation by the FIA after he banged wheels with title rival Hamilton during Sunday’s chaotic race.
The sport’s governing body will convene on Monday, six days before the next round in Austria, to determine whether the 10-second stop-and-go penalty that the championship leader served for dangerous driving was enough.
Button, who returned for a one-off appearance at the Monaco Grand Prix last month but has effectively retired from the sport, agreed that Vettel had not helped himself by refusing to accept blame for the incident.
But the 37-year-old feels the German, who leads Hamilton in the title race by 14 points, should not face further sanctions. The FIA could choose to fine Vettel, strip him of the 12 points he scored for finishing fourth in Baku, or indeed ban him.
“(The) Azerbaijan GP was a pleasure to watch,” Button, who partnered Hamilton for three years at McLaren, said on his official Twitter account. “Why? Because adrenaline and emotions were high.
“What Vettel did was silly but he’s been punished. Move on. A driver now knows that he will get a 10-sec drive (sic) which equates to 30 seconds with pit entry and exit, race game over.”
Vettel’s actions on lap 19, in which he hit Hamilton from behind before he pulled alongside the Briton and swerved into his car, could be deemed to have brought the sport into disrepute.
“I don’t think you can class it as road rage when it’s not on the road,” Button, the 2009 world champion, added. “You can’t compare racing with driving on the road as racing wouldn’t exist.”
The outcome of the FIA summit will be announced before the Austrian Grand Prix which takes place a week on Sunday.