"I hope as we are gaining in competitiveness that we can - I think we are too far out of contention to compete for the championship - but I think we're gaining performance and speed to be able to compete for race wins, as we get more performance on the auto". "Normally. This I don't understand, because he's insane". I think I'll do that just with him and clear it and move on.
The fact Ricciardo won from 10th on the grid, and that Bottas clawed his way back from last following an early incident, summed up one of the most weird races for years.
Angry Hamilton accused Vettel of "dangerous driving" for the extraordinary manoeuvre and called out race director Charlie Whiting after the Ferrari driver escaped with just a 10-second penalty.
He eventually finished 4th, one place ahead of Hamilton whose race was harmed by a subsequent unrelated auto problem.
Before the battle of Baku, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel had raced with the respect that comes with being a multiple world title victor.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia, right, celebrates on the podium with third placed Williams driver Lance Stroll of Canada, center and Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland, after winning the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan, Sunday, June 25, 2017. "I got hit at Turn 2 and there was quite a lot of damage on the auto already on the left-hand side". Driving dangerously in any way can put another driver at risk.
"You dream of being on an F1 podium, you work towards that and it finally comes true", he told Sky Sports.
"Nothing happened, did it?"
"I have no doubt he brake-checked me", Vettel said. "I'd like to think I remained respectful and I will continue to do so because I will do the talking on the track and win this championship the right way". If I m struggling, people at the back struggling even more, so I don t think it was necessary.
The safety auto came out three times in quick succession before a red flag stopped the race on lap 22 of 51 because debris littered the track.
Hamilton had been dominating the race before his headrest came loose, after also taking pole position, and the need to pit dropped him to ninth, before he fought back to fifth.
Stroll kept his head, and was on course to finish second, only for Valtteri Bottas to pip him on the line.
Stroll, at 18 years and 239 days, became the youngest driver to make the podium in his first Formula One season.
The first safety vehicle came in after 16 laps, racing resuming with Perez making an attack on Vettel who resisted, before another safety auto, the second, was deployed due to debris. It happened so quickly. "Today was obviously a different Sebastian we're seeing", Hamilton said. I will do that just with him. I had it last year when I had the flawless year and this year when I had some tough times.