Vettel defends Hamilton after post-race Verstappen storm

Sebastian Vettel leapt to the defence of his rival Lewis Hamilton yesterday morning (Singapore time) when the Briton faced questions over his post-race criticism of Max Verstappen's driving.

Hamilton was heard calling the Dutchman a "d...head" during a private conversation, picked up by microphones in the drivers' room, shortly before the podium ceremonies.

The comments were made in relation to Red Bull driver Verstappen's driving, which led to his collision with Mercedes' Hamilton early in the race won by Ferrari's Vettel.

When Hamilton, who finished third, was asked about his comments during the mandatory post-race news conference, Vettel intervened.

"Can I answer that?" he said. "It's not fair. I don't know what Lewis did, but we've all been in that situation.

"We fight someone and sometimes we go wheel-to-wheel and it's close - and we have a lot of adrenaline going.

"Do you think, if you compare it to football, if you have a microphone on a footballer's mouth, that everything he says is something nice and it's a nice message when the guy tackles him and sometimes he fouls him?

"I don't think it's justified to give us this kind of **** question and making up a story out of nothing.

"We are just racing, we are full of adrenaline and we say these things.

"If I hit you in your face, you are not going to tell me, 'Sebastian, that wasn't nice'."

Hamilton had earlier told TV reporters that "emotion is always firing when you get out of the car" and added that he could not remember making the comment until reminded that it was in the pre-podium room.

Of the collision, he said: "I realised I had to back out, but he continued to come across and that didn't leave me any room.

"So we ended up touching. I was just really grateful that my car wasn't broken and I could continue. That would have really been difficult.

"My thoughts are on the world championship and I've lost two races now. I am 17 points down already after just two races. Hopefully, when we go to the next race, we will have a better fight with the Ferraris." - AFP