Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

Sebastian Vettel defends Lewis Hamilton after post-race Verstappen storm

Vettel defends Hamilton after post-race Verstappen storm Vettel defends Hamilton after post-race Verstappen storm
Elias Hubbard | 11 April, 2018, 12:43

Matters were complicated by Mercedes assuming that Vettel would stop a second time before coming to realise that he might not, and also by problems with Hamilton's microphone, which meant that the pitwall could not always hear what he was saying.

When asked about it later in the news conference, race victor Vettel, seated alongside, came to his title rival's defence.

"Can I answer that?" "I don't know what Lewis did, but we've all been in that situation".

"At the moment he said that, he was still full of adrenaline", Verstappen, 20, told Het Laaste Nieuws.

"There was not much I could do to avoid him from hitting me there".

"I don't think it's justified to give us these kind of shit questions and making up a story out of nothing".

"It looked as though we were a bit quicker than the rest but at this point I wouldn't draw any conclusions", Vettel said. "Max dived in on the inside, a good move, bit aggressive pushing Hamilton out but I think most drivers would have done that", he added.

"And I've got to save tyres so that when we're at the end and he catches me I can still fight".

Question: "Lewis, I believe, if my ears are correct, you used the word "d***head" after the race concerning Max Verstappen and the overtake and the contact". He didn't and held on to beat Valtteri Bottas - Hamilton's Mercedes teammate - by 0.7 seconds in a thrilling contest.

Last season, the battle for the title between Vettel and Hamilton was often a heated affair, which peaked during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix when Vettel deliberately rammed Hamilton's Mercedes when the race was neutralised by a Safety Car period. I am 17 points down already after just two races.

Speaking before his grid penalty was revealed, Hamilton said: "We definitely have got some work to do to try and see if we can eke out to be ahead of the others".

And let's not forget Pierre Gasly; the Toro Rosso driver (now powered by a Honda engine, don't forget) finished an incredible fourth behind Hamilton.

It was the German's second win in as many races this season and installed him as a clear favourite to beat Hamilton to become a five-time champion.

Verstappen, who retired with a broken differential, insisted Hamilton was to blame.

However, it was an even worse outing for Australian hopeful Daniel Ricciardo, who pulled up early in the race after losing all power, leading to another frustrating retirement.

The points were the first of the 22-year-old Frenchman's Formula One career in his seventh start.

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