‘Get off Vettel bandwagon’, says peacemaker Hamilton

Brolly good: Sebastian Vettel (centre) inspects the racetrack

Spielberg (Austria) (AFP) – Lewis Hamilton on Thursday revised his strong criticism of Sebastian Vettel’s errant driving last weekend and said he felt the German should not be the victim of a negative media bandwagon.

The championship leader had hit out at the five seconds penalty that his rival was given after driving his Ferrari into his own Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes car on the opening lap of the French Grand Prix.

After that race, he pointed out that “you shouldn’t really be able to finish ahead of him if you took him out of the race,” referring to Vettel and Bottas.

But on Thursday his views were mellowed.

“I don’t feel like Sebastian needs criticising,” said the defending world champion.

“He is a four-time world champion and he has won more than most. Everyone jumps at one single fault from any of us. People jump on the bandwagon and love to talk negative about someone.

“It is a strange scenario when a split-second decision can have a result as it did, yet a penalty of five seconds doesn’t appear to be significant enough, but that’s the rules and it was a penalty nonetheless and he served it and moved on.”

Bottas said he had accepted Vettel’s apology for causing their collision.

“He came up to me after the race an apologised, which was a nice thing, but there wasn’t much I could say as I had lost the points and couldn’t do anything about it,” Bottas said.

“He told me it was his mistake, admitted to it and that was good.”