Lewis Hamilton believes Sebastian Vettel is getting unfair treatment from the media after his collision with Max Verstappen in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Vettel was trying to recover from eighth on the grid on Sunday and had made it up to fourth when he tried to overtake Max Verstappen into Spoon. The pair touched and Vettel spun, dropping to 19th and only able to get back up to sixth by the checkered flag, leaving Hamilton on the verge of the drivers’ championship.
“I feel the media need to show a little more respect for Sebastian,” Hamilton wrote in an Instagram story. “You simply cannot imagine how hard it is to do what we do at our level, for any athlete at the top of their game that is. It is to be expected that being humans we will make mistakes but it is how we get through them that counts.”
Hamilton’s comments come after Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene took exception to being asked why Vettel risked the move on Verstappen when the Red Bull driver had already been handed a five-second time penalty for a separate incident with Kimi Raikkonen.
“Why do we have to talk always about the mistakes?” Arrivabene said in an interview with Sky Sports. “We got the news about the penalty very, very late; Sebastian was doing his job and as far as I know his car was on the inside.
“If you want to talk about race incident, I accept this version but the fact is we weren’t able to exploit all of our potential.”
Hamilton’s team boss Toto Wolff also defended Vettel, when asked why the German’s title challenge has collapsed so dramatically for the second straight season.
“I’m not sure it was a mistake with him,” Wolff said. “He’s recovered well from his starting position and was running a solid fourth, and at that stage as a race driver you either have to go for it or not, and the door looked open and he gave it a go and then a race incident caused him to drop all the way back.”