Niki Lauda: 'FIA right to launch Sebastian Vettel crash probe'

Niki Lauda watches the action during final practice ahead of the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 7, 2014
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The FIA re-opens the issue of Sebastian Vettel's apparently deliberate crash into title rival Lewis Hamilton in Baku.

The FIA has re-opened the issue of Sebastian Vettel's apparently deliberate crash into title rival Lewis Hamilton in Baku.

Although the German was penalised during the race and lost further licence points, it was speculated that FIA president Jean Todt wanted to pursue the matter further.

Amid suggestions that a race ban could be applied, it is suggested Todt is unhappy that Vettel re-offended despite being sternly warned after Mexico last year about his radio tirade against Charlie Whiting.

The FIA confirmed that on Monday, July 3, it will "further examine the causes of the incident in order to evaluate whether further action is necessary".

The outcome will then be announced before next weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, F1's governing body added.

Monday, July 3 is also the Ferrari driver's 30th birthday.

Mercedes team chairman and F1 legend Niki Lauda told newspaper Osterreich that Vettel's decision to drive into Hamilton in Baku was "unbelievable".

"What makes it even worse is that Vettel took absolutely no blame - although that is always so with him," he said.

"I can understand Lewis's anger and I'm really angry as well. Why couldn't he just say 'It was my mistake, I screwed up'?

Lauda also seemed to agree that the FIA is right to re-open the matter, saying that the penalty given by the stewards in Azerbaijan was "a joke".

Toto Wolff the Mercedes GP Executive Director looks on from the pitwall during day four of Formula One Winter Testing at the Circuito de Jerez on January 31, 2014
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1Mercedes330
2Ferrari275
3Red Bull174
4Force India95
5Williams-Mercedes41
6Toro Rosso33
7Haas29
8Renault26
9Sauber5
10McLaren2
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari177
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes176
3Valtteri BottasMercedes154
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull117
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari98
6Max VerstappenRed Bull57
7Sergio PerezForce India52
8Esteban OconForce India43
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso29
10Nico HulkenbergRenault26
11Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes23
12Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes18
13Romain GrosjeanHaas18
14Kevin MagnussenHaas11
15Pascal WehrleinSauber5
16Daniil KvyatToro Rosso4
17Fernando AlonsoMcLaren2
18Jolyon PalmerRenault0
19Marcus EricssonSauber0
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren0
21Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
22Jenson ButtonMcLaren0