By Simon Rabinovitch
SHANGHAI, April 18 (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel were reprimanded by stewards for dangerous driving in the pit lane at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.
McLaren’s Hamilton overtook Vettel as they entered for a tyre change and was then released, his car skidding sideways, at the same time as his Red Bull rival.
Vettel was slightly ahead and held position, with Hamilton alongside close to mechanics and equipment before finally running out of space.
The 2008 world champion passed the German driver later in the race, finishing second behind team mate Jenson Button. Vettel took sixth place.
Hamilton down-played the clash, saying that a blue advertisement painted on the ground and running down the pit lane was its primary cause.
“The (McLaren) guys waited some time to let the cars go past and released me at what I thought was a good time. And there is a big long blue line down the pit lane, which is all painted and just so slippery,” the Briton said.
“As soon as I hit that, I had some major wheel spin and lost a bit of traction and unfortunately that let Vettel go inside of me, but otherwise it was good racing.”
Vettel questioned Hamilton’s judgment.
“I don’t know why he was keen to touch me. I thought, hopefully, I don’t suffer a puncture after that,” the Red Bull driver said.
“I don’t really understand, because I was a bit ahead and he turned out to be a little bit faster on the track anyway.”
Editing by Alan Baldwin