Vettel branded ‘Superman Seb’ amid Hamilton’s row with FIA

Sebastian Vettel and Sir Lewis Hamilton have both spoken out against Niels Wittich's clampdown on jewellery in Formula 1.

Sebastian Vettel has earned himself a new nickname from Formula 1 fans after his defiance of the reinforcement of the fireproof regulation.

Ahead of the Australian Grand Prix earlier this year, race director Niels Wittich reminded the drivers of the importance of removing all jewellery before entering the car to prevent fire hazards.

Sir Lewis Hamilton reportedly took issue with that as well as the reminder to wear fireproof underwear, leading to a discourse in the drivers’ briefing.

READ: ‘The FIA ​​has to draw a line’: Wolff comments on risk of Hamilton clashing with FIA over jewellery ban

But Wittich has put his foot down on the safety issue this weekend in Miami, emphasising that the drivers must wear the appropriate clothing while in the cockpit.

“Drivers and co-drivers participating in the championship listed below [Formula 1] must wear overalls as well as gloves, long underwear, a balaclava, socks and shoes homologated to the FIIA 8856-2018 standard,” he said in his notes, before telling the drivers of the detrimental impact wearing metallic artefacts in the car can have.

In the press conference, the Briton cut a disappointed figure upon seeing the jewellery debate – in the midst of so many world issues right now – come to the fore.

“It’s about individuality and being who you are. I sent [Mohammed ben Sulayem, FIA president] a message just reassuring him that I want to be an ally. I don’t want to fight with you guys over this. This is very, very silly,” he said.

“I’ll try to communicate and work with Mohammed. I’m here to be an ally of Mohammed, of the sport and Formula 1, and as I said I think we’ve got bigger fish to fry.”

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In protest of the clampdown, Vettel donned a pair of underpants over the top of his overalls ahead of Friday practice in Florida, prompting to compare him to superman.

“Gonna tell our kids this was Superman,” they tweeted.

The 34-year-old, who along with Hamilton has long been an advocate for positive change, believes that the perceived tirade from Wittich is aimed directly at the seven-time champion.

“Probably at this stage, it is more of a personal thing and I feel, in a way, [it is] particularly targeted to Lewis,” he explained.

“We spoke about underpants as well, but really is that the most exciting thing we can talk about? In a way, there is a concern for safety if you have stuff and the car does catch fire it would be unpleasant.

READ: Verstappen pinpoints Red Bull’s advantage over Ferrari after qualifying third

“To some degree, it is personal freedom and we are old enough to make our choices outside the car. We should [also] be old enough to make choices also inside the car.”

Hamilton has been given until the Monaco Grand Prix to remove the permanent piercings on his ears and nose, and has indicated that Mercedes have a “spare driver” available to them should he be forced to sit out races due to the row.