Lewis: Jibe 'shows Vettel's maturity'
Hamilton defends his driving after rival accused him of being 'stupid'
Last Updated: 23/07/12 11:06am
Lewis Hamilton has dismissed Sebastian Vettel's criticism of him in the German GP, suggesting the Red Bull driver 'showed his maturity' by accusing him of being "stupid" to have unlapped himself.
The McLaren driver was on the receiving end of Vettel's ire in the aftermath of Sunday's race at Hockenheim after Hamilton had chosen to unlap himself on lap 36 while the World Champion was bidding to close down race leader Fernando Alonso and at the same time pull clear of the other McLaren of Jenson Button.
Vettel felt the time lost behind Hamilton had cost him second place to Button during the next round of pit stops, while RBR chief Christian Horner also expressed his frustration with the incident.
Hamilton, who had fallen a lap down after picking up a puncture on the second lap after running over debris, however told the British media that he wasn't concerned by Vettel's barbs and he had simply focused on trying to salvage his own race.
"It doesn't really bother me what he says," Hamilton was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror. "I guess. It shows his maturity.
"I don't think I've made any silly decisions throughout the race. I had nothing to gain apart from staying out of the way of my team-mate.
"I never give up, so I'm not going to back off and let everyone past me when I've got the pace to go past the guy in front."
Although Hamilton, on fresh tyres, was the fastest driver on the track at the time of the incident with Vettel, the time he had lost through the puncture and resultant unscheduled pit stop in the opening stages meant a points finish was never a realistic target and, in any case, he eventually retired late on due to the earlier damage sustained to his car.
But while left to bemoan what he felt had been his "cruel luck" on his 100th Grand Prix start, Hamilton said McLaren's big improvement in pace was a definite silver lining for him ahead of this weekend's Hungarian round.
"At least I was able to have some fun out on track - my pace was good enough to be able to match the leaders during the middle stint," he said.
"And that's encouraging for me, because we know our car's been genuinely quick this weekend. A big thank-you to everyone back at the factory for all their efforts to get a lot of new parts onto the car this weekend - every little bit helps, and we know there's even more in the pipeline.
"We'll put that pace in our pockets and take it to Hungary next weekend. I'm back in the car in five days' time - and that's the best possible news for me after a day like today."