Vettel defends Hamilton's "dickhead" remark

Sebastian Vettel has launched a strong defence of Formula 1 rival Lewis Hamilton over comments the Mercedes driver made about Max Verstappen straight after the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Vettel defends Hamilton's "dickhead" remark
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ battle
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMGlhp celebrates on the podium
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, 2nd position, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 3rd position, and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1st position, spray Waard, a non-alcoholic Champagne Rose Water substitute, on the podium
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ collide
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 3rd position, inspects his trophy
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 on the drivers parade

Hamilton was heard calling Verstappen "a dickhead" in the drivers' room before the podium ceremony, prompting questions about it in the post-race press conference.

But when Hamilton was asked about what he said, race winner Vettel interjected and expressed sympathy for his rival.

"Can I answer that?" Vettel said. "It's not fair – I don't know what Lewis did, 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 shit question and making up a story out of nothing."

Vettel said it was normal for a driver to react emotionally in high-pressure situations.

"We are just racing, we are full of adrenaline and we say these things," he added. "If I hit you in your face, you are not going to tell me, 'Sebastian, that wasn't nice'.

"It's a human reaction, and sometimes I feel it's all a bit blown up and artificial if we have these questions trying to make something out of nothing."

Hamilton, who told TV crews "emotion is always firing when you get out of the car", said he couldn't "really remember" making the comment, before referencing that he recalled it being in the podium room.

"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," he said.

"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."

Additional reporting by Scott Mitchell

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