F1 left with a car crash over controversial Sebastian Vettel verdict | Giles Richards

Decision to give Vettel a slapped wrist after he side-swiped Lewis Hamilton at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix has possibly had a more negative effect than the collision

The FIA might have declared case closed after taking no further action against Sebastian Vettel for his collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix but outside the boardroom it appears to be anything but. Their ruling has served only to intensify the spotlight on the incident and its aftermath. Vettel issued his mea culpa to the investigation on Monday and was sent home with a slapped wrist. A decision as surprising as it was at odds with many principles the governing body promotes and which has raised further questions and more controversy.

Vettel’s stop-go penalty in the race, followed by his public apology for his side-swipe into Hamilton and an agreement to take part in educational duties in junior formula was adjudged to be punishment enough. He might have received a race ban, a grid penalty or a fine. Imposing none, even a fine – meaningless to the driver or his Ferrari team – is positively baffling and stood in stark contrast to events only a day later at the Tour de France.

Related: Sebastian Vettel escapes further sanction over Lewis Hamilton incident

Vettel’s contrition appears to have played a major part but why was it sufficient?

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Source: Formula 1

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