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JULY 9, 2017

Hamilton-Vettel aggression to increase says Lauda

Niki Lauda has warned that tensions between F1's two championship protagonists look set to heat up rather than cool down.

After Baku, Lewis Hamilton made clear he thought Sebastian Vettel should have been punished more heavily for crashing into him deliberately.

But FIA president Jean Todt told reporters in Austria: "Sebastian has had some very strong warnings.

"It won't happen again, and if it would then the consequences would be very severe."

But that did not appear enough to calm the tension after qualifying, when Hamilton blatantly refused to shake his German rival's hand.

However, video evidence showed that the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers did in fact shake hands before being specifically asked to by interviewer Davide Valsecchi.

F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman Lauda, however, has warned that the tension could still continue to ramp up.

"The FIA's mild judgement in the Vettel case was an invitation for them to express their aggression and emotions on the circuit," he said.

"That is perfect for egocentric racing drivers wanting to claim their territory. As a driver I would do so, because you know the FIA will not intervene.

"This naturally leads to more action on the track, and that is what the spectators want to see," said Lauda.