Vettel crashgate over now says Lauda

Mercedes chiefs have called an end to the Sebastian Vettel 'crashgate' saga.

After the now apologetic Ferrari driver essentially escaped further sanction for having been found by the FIA to have steered deliberately into Lewis Hamilton in Baku, the controversy continued in the wake of the FIA ruling.

Hamilton reportedly 'liked' on Instagram a post on which a fan said he has "lost all respect for the FIA, Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel".

But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: "We have moved past that moment now and it is a closed chapter."

He also said "great respect between Mercedes and Ferrari" is intact after the drama.

So while some fans and insiders reacted with dismay to the FIA's leniency, others welcomed the ruling.

"I am very happy that there is no further punishment," said Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko, who brought Vettel into F1.

"It was just an emotional reaction to Hamilton's strategic manouvre," he told Austrian broadcaster Servus TV.

And F1 chief executive Chase Carey was quoted as saying: "A little drama on the racetrack is not harmful."

Even Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda, who was earlier so critical of Vettel, vowed to move on in the wake of the FIA decision.

"I criticised Vettel because he did not see his mistake," he told Bild newspaper.

"Now that he has apologised, the incident for me is over."

(GMM)

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