Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Sochi, 2018

Hamilton tells media to “show Vettel more respect” over mistakes

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has urged Formula 1 media to give his championship rival Sebastian Vettel more “respect” in their coverage following his recent mistakes.

“I feel the media need to show a little more respect for Sebastian,” Hamilton wrote in a post on social media.

“You simply cannot imagine how hard it is to do what we do at our level, for any athlete at the top of their game that is. It is to be expected that being humans we will make mistakes but it is how we get through them that counts.”

Hamilton did not give any examples of the coverage his remarks were referring to.

The world championship leader scored his ninth victory of the season on Sunday while Vettel came in sixth following a collision with Max Verstappen. Vettel’s chance of beating Hamilton to the title is now extremely remote.

Asked on Sunday whether Vettel’s mistakes in recent races have come about because of the pressure he has put on his rival, Hamilton said: “I think together we can claim credit for applying the pressure and ultimately, maybe, that’s what happens in head-to-head battles with top competitors.

“Eventually someone has to… even though they’re still performing great, one of them can’t always perform the same. It’s a psychological battle, a war that we’re in.

“I think it’s collectively come from everyone, everyone’s put in 100% and everyone’s delivered time and time again. I’m grateful to have also delivered when the team’s delivered.”

Vettel has previously complained about the media’s coverage of this year’s championship fight. In Bahrain he criticised a journalist for asking Hamilton a question concerning a remark Hamilton made about Verstappen.

Following the Russian Grand Prix Vettel accused journalists of asking “naughty questions” about Mercedes’ decision to impose team orders during the race.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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55 comments on “Hamilton tells media to “show Vettel more respect” over mistakes”

  1. Very decent of him. But are the press to blame? They echo what a lot of us fans feel, as well.

    I know Vettel has also defended Mercedes from the press on occasions, so it’s nice to see that amount of respect between them.

    Now if only Vettel could give us some clean and hard racing against Hamilton in what remains of this season, that’ll make up for some of his errors.

    1. I think it is good to see top drivers counter a narrative of ‘hero or zero’ after every race – I don’t think all media are guilty of it, but with social media, and the way the press currently works, it is easy to see drivers either praised to heaven or doomed to the deepest pit of despair, making it easy to forget the huge effort and talent they and the teams put in every race to try and get the best result they can. Debate culture tends to keep the middle under-represented.

      1. Oh, I do think that it should be valid to ask a driver/team about a mistake or accident, and whether they think they could have done differently, better there; whether it was a good risk given their championship goal; and also about how they feel about the team orders they profited/suffered from, and how that will work inside the team, please don’t get me wrong on that.

    2. @phylyp:

      But are the press to blame? They echo what a lot of us fans feel, as well.

      Ok, it’s both. The fans and the media. And the internet. Especially the fans on the internet and social media rant platforms.

      The traditional fans still use traditional methods to express their vexation – an impeccably hand written note to the Times. Delivered by hand by their Rolex-wearing man servant. The way Bernie intended.

      1. @jimmi-cynic @phylyp My biggest take-away from the last race was at ten minutes past the hour when the formation lap started. I gaped at my TV and thought, “My goodness, that gold watch bezel is iconic”.

        1. @shimks – I can accept that for Sochi, but it’s a crying shame (about F1, not you) when a race at Suzuka has that effect.

          1. @phylyp: Agree. That sort of iconic shame is reserved for the fake glamour tracks like Russia and other petrol despot races.

  2. A big part of me says anyone would say that, we`d always praise the opponent, it`s the only thing we have left to do regardless of the result of the battle, just for the different reasons. And why not praise the opponent you`ve just beaten just in case the fans and the journalists start taking credit away from your hard work and credit your opponent`s mistakes instead. Goes along perfectly well with an egocentric nature of f1 drivers.
    If my memory serves me well, Vettel defended Hamilton when he was confidently beating him, and now it`s the other way around.

    The other equally big and more hopeful part of me says there is genuine respect between the two great athletes that know that a battle like this doesnt come every year, so might as well enjoy it while it lasts, they`re not 21 anymore either.

  3. Ex-championship rival.

    1. He is just applying his mindgames again on Vettel and uses the press. Lewis needs this psychological stuff to be able to perform. I guess it boosts his confidence. If its not Rosberg or Max he will pick Vettel. We’ve all had these kids in our class, its just that Hamilton does it so ineffective because he is so obvious and predicatable

  4. Both drivers have made mistakes when they didn’t have the superior car.

    1. Totally out of context and useless reply.

  5. Yes, but still, it doesn’t take away the fact he’s thrown away a lot of points by taking unnecessary risks. Just imagine how much tighter it’d now be on the top of the drivers’ standings had Vettel not thrown away as many points as he has by taking unnecessary risks in Baku, Paul Ricard, Hockenheim, Monza, and Suzuka to a certain extent by throwing away two rather certain wins (maybe even a potential third), as well as, three podium finishes.

  6. Serious question: Do you think RaceFans shows Vettel, and the other drivers, sufficient respect?

    And what coverage in particular do you think Hamilton is referring to here? In the past when he’s complained about media coverage he’s often shown examples of it, but not this time. I don’t know how avidly he reads the Italian media but I understand Ferrari got a bit of a kicking from them last weekend.

    1. RaceFans? Yes, consistently respectful I think. As for us btl, hmm…

    2. I wouldn’t say it disrespects them, but some situations are reported differently depending on the driver or team. While I’ve seen some articles critising a team for doing something, but then there isn’t the equivalent for another that does exactly the same.

      With drivers, the feeling that I have is that in some occasions when a driver performs well he is overlooked but it is brought to our attention when he performs bad. I’ve seen this happen with two drivers in recent years, Massa and most recently Perez. Some of this behaviour can be seen on the stars performances articles that is put up after the races and in the rankings. It is not something that I see often but for some reason I have that feeling

      Still I understand that at the end of they day this is a business and decisions have to be made that might appear to be biased when they really aren’t (before I also had very present that F1Fanatic was mostly directed to the British fan, and at times it feels the same with RaceFans, but not as much). So this is my honest idea that might also be skewed from not remembering every single one of the articles, and surely some are more attention grabbing than others, which means that while I have that feeling it might be wrong.

      1. Yes but having an edge or angle gives some flavour and adds a bit of energy to debate. I don’t mind that in the least. The question is respect and I’ve never read anything disrespectful of any driver. Even the official Formula 1 site sometimes loses it a bit. A few other sites are respectful too.

    3. The site or the comments? I think every driver catches flak in the comments. We’re a grumpy lot down here, below the fold :-)

      The site – I don’t see an issue with your (collective) reporting or narrative, this weekend or earlier.

      Regarding what is Hamilton referring to – my guess would be the savaging that Ferrari and Vettel got over this weekend in particular, but to me they “earned” it, just as they earned praise for Spa, and other good races. I wouldn’t know if Sky went off on a big tangent during the commentary, to have caught Hamilton’s attention post-race.

      1. Surely it is the site, the comments do cross the line, but that is part of the fun. Regardless, there aren’t many places around the internet where you can see a proper debate between people with opinions from the two sides of the spectrum, and I’ve seen those plenty around here. My hats off to you people

    4. @keithcollantine generally I think we all give our honest opinions, pointing out mistakes isn’t being disrespectful, it’s what being a fan is, commenting and debating about what we’re watching. Racefans and most sites I follow are examples of great reporting and opinion pieces, but some tabloid-like sources or specially the Italian media are harsh in their comments in the same way the Spanish media is harsh at McLaren at the moment and were harsh with Ferrari in the past. Some sources are biased and they take no prisoners to lay blame to others.

      I still think Vettel made very clear mistakes this year and he shouldn’t be 67 points behind at this stage regardless of what LH says. He dropped the ball massively and Lewis stood at another level overall.

    5. That one time when you sponsored Vettel’s crying baby face driver cutouts seemed a bit overboard, but other than that, I’d say you’re fine. ;D

    6. @keithcollantine I think specialist sites such as Racefans tend towards a more respectful, neutral and ‘sensible’ tone than ‘mainstream’ outlets that just happen to cover motorsport as well as other things. Newspapers can be pretty brutal. But anywhere that opinion pieces exist, there also exists the potential for someone to view coverage as ‘lacking in respect’.

      For me, the issue of ‘kinship’ comes into it – though they’re not friends, but they’re even further away from being ‘enemies’. I think Hamilton feels a sense of ‘brotherhood’ towards Vettel as a fellow top-class driver of a similar age (as he does towards Alonso), and the same is felt the other way round. Neither of them seem to appreciate attacks on the other, and will stand up to offer defence if they feel it necessary. Vettel has stood up for Hamilton in the past too, in a similarly ‘oversensitive’ manner (in the press conference after Bahrain, for example).

      And from a cynical point of view, whether you’re winning or losing… you want your opponent to be viewed in the best possible light, because that makes you look better too…

      1. + 1 A very sensible analysis. I think they all share an understanding of how difficult it is to win at this level of motorsport.

    7. Unquestionably RaceFans shows Vettel and the other drivers sufficient respect.

    8. RaceFans is the enemy of the people, I would say.

      Seriously though, we have seen several costly errors or at least questionable actions from Vettel this year so I guess Hamilton is referring to the articles (on different websites) that list them – there are quite many. You cannot blame the media for stating facts though. What Hamilton is probably trying to say here is that Vettel is still a great driver and that the errors combined with some bad luck in 2018 do not change that. Also, Hamilton obviously does not want people to believe that he is about to win the championship this year only because his main rival has handed it to him on a silver platter.

    9. From RaceFans the website, every driver is treated respectfully without a doubt, Vettel included.

      From RaceFans the comments, I feel like I can say that Vettel is not being treated fairly. Of course, He deserves strong criticism and I am actually disappointed in his overall performances this year and the fact that, also because of his faults, for the second year running I don’t get to see what looked set to be a to the wire showdown between multi world champions that will forever be part of the history of the sport amongst its greatest.

      But what I’m seeing is constant attempts to deconstruct and diminish his achievements over his entire career, that I feel it’s totally uncalled for and unfair (and thus disrespectful). I think that those who do this take opportunity by the stark contrast to Hamilton’s performance in the second part of the season. A constrast that absolutely exists, but comparing the most perfect “purple patch” Hamilton has ever raced to a moment when Vettel seems to have lost his way is strumentalizing and thus, disrespectful.

    10. In general, I think you do show the drivers sufficient respect. That said, I’ll just re-post a comment I left in ~May 2017:

      “Just because David Croft’s (and Jackie Stewart’s) bias against Lewis Hamilton are off the charts obvious and disgraceful, does not mean that Keith is completely free of bias against him. IMO, it’s subtle but it is unquestionably there. His Grand Prix driver ratings for Hamilton over the years is probably the most obvious example of it.

      That said, Keith’s bias is not flagrant enough to stop me from visiting this website which he obviously pours his heart and soul into. By contrast, the enmity that both Croft and Stewart have for Hamilton is so blatant, unprofessional and uncalled for that I am no longer interested in anything they have to say. Ditto for Ben Edwards.”

      Apologies to Ben Edwards, I meant The Daily Mail’s Jonathan McEvoy.

      In fairness, I think you’ve improved regarding Hamilton. At the very least, if you still have some bias against him, it is now harder to detect, which is as it should be for any truly professional journalist, commentator, pundit etc.

    11. As for Dieter Rencken? Let’s just say that IMO, his March 28th, 2018 post, “Hamilton’s plea for diversity is a noble goal which faces practical problems” was not just disrespectful toward Hamilton, it was also disingenuous, condescending – the title is a good example – and an insult to the intelligence of your readers who aren’t fools. Whatever the opposite of “Magnum Opus” is, surely that article was it.

      It was such a rubbish post that;
      a) Unless it’s a topic I’m really interested in, I no longer read anything written exclusively by Rencken and,

      b) I followed my usual policy of not dignifying such efforts with a detailed response, nor will I do so now, but a few of the comments expressed some of my sentiments, the 3 best being:
      -Hobo, 28th March 2018, 15:00
      -Kbdavies, 28th March 2018, 22:51
      -Dan, 28th March 2018, 14:49

      Some other good comments were…
      -Umar A, 28th March 2018, 16:42
      -Anon, 28th March 2018, 21:39
      -KGN11, 28th March 2018, 14:13
      -KGN11, 28th March 2018, 14:05
      -Giselle Mitton, 28th March 2018, 21:28

      Without wishing to sound condescending, just the fact that you asked the question is honorable, which is why I decided to give a detailed response. From my experience, most people are unaware of their blind-spots because they simply don’t want to know. Their egos are too fragile to handle the truth.

      1. I’ve never noticed any bias here @keithcollantine that’s why I read this site over others. The same can’t be said for the comments unfortunately but that’s a general trend online towards extremes.

        If I had any issue with the site it would probably be being a bit negative about races but I haven’t noticed that recently to be honest, just an occasional thing.

        Also strongly disagree with above comment, Dieters articles are a great addition and I can’t see how the article mentioned could cause offence, it was a reasonable in depth article being realistic about a problem.

    12. To Sebastian Vettel, mostly. But the CWABA (Compulsory Weekly Alonso-Bashing Article) is alive and well, still going strong since Hungary 2007.

    13. (@keithcollantine)
      Racef Fans/F1 Fanatic has always been a been of an unapologetic Vettel fan club, to be honest.

      (@stefanauss)
      There have been major question marks over his legitimacy as a ‘great’ for years, though. And he hasn’t exactly helped himself by;
      – barely winning two of those championships in a rocket ship
      – getting slaughtered in 2014 by a relative unknown
      – failing to win Ferrari a championship in the first car since the V6 era equal to the Mercs

    14. @keithcollantine
      Hey Keith – as a racing website, yes, I do think you (and now with Dieter on board) do show respect for the drivers as a whole. Maybe that independence is why you are doing so well with this site.

      Your subscribers maybe not so much at times, me included, I think I called the HAM win in Germany “the least deserved win in F1 history” …………hmmmmm…… I should have waited for Sochi LOL.

      We do get emotional and fired up, I hate when people bag Daniels quali performance against Max (especially Crofty when Dan hasn’t been having so many issues), but its what we do as fans.

      But some class from Lewis there, I like that.

    15. @keithcollantine I do think RaceFans shows respect to the drivers. In general the website appears neutral to me. Little things like your approach to opinion polls, where you have the “I say” paragraph, and your opinion is hidden unless we click to reveal it, to me demonstrate neutrality.

      The usual problem with websites, as I’m sure you know, is that written print can interpreted in many ways and easily be taken out of context. I see no bias or disrespect from your journalism. I respect that you’ve taken your motorsport fandom and grown it into such a great site, it makes me pay particular attention to your views when you do post an opinion.

      As an aside, seeing the site grow over the years, it makes me smile when I see links to this site on the BBC F1 gossip column :-)

  7. I think for most fans the latter part of the F1 season has been one of frustration. The seemingly mouth watering championship had seemingly fizzled away prematurely. It wasn’t like some random driver crashed into Vettel, rather he just seemed to selfdestruct at any and every opportunity. When you also add that he is the highest paid driver, driving for a great team, it makes it too difficult not to be denigrating towards Vettel.
    The irony is just last night I was thinking to my self if we were being fair to Vettel. It even crossed my mind to write an article on in the physiological pressure he must be under. Although most of it self induced. Baku 2017 showed that air off entitlement, that feeling of superiority. The fact it is challenged sets him on a path to self destruction

  8. 1- 0 to LH in the psycho war!!
    At first glance a gentlemanly & magnanimous gesture.
    2nd glance & proper read, gives a clear insight into LH’s dissection of SV’s mental fragility.
    Reasonable to put the boot into a man down!
    All’s fair in WDC competition!!!!

    1. Lewis ‘I do my talking on the track’ Hamilton.

    2. Psycho war lol

      1. It’s like Bride Wars, but with more handbags.

  9. All the hate betwwen them is too much for me.

  10. I actually agree with Hamilton on something for once. Much respect to him.

    To be honest I think it’s not so much the media but the fans themselves – they can be horrifically toxic and arguably Vettel, Alonso, Verstappen and Hamilton have the most… vocal of them all, both postively and negatively. People on here have been incredibly harsh on both Vettel & Ferrari, while giving both Hamilton & Mercedes a pass for doing similar things. I mean personally I don’t like Hamilton and I hate to see him win, but I don’t sit analyzing every mistake he makes to build an argument he’s terrible? He’s clearly not? You don’t luck into 4 WDC’s, even with a strong car – but people level EXACTLY that argument at Vettel? I could sit an argue that point for years but basically put if you don’t like a driver or team, that’s perfectly fine you’re entitled to an opinion, but don’t attack them or their fans for it.

    Regardless Vettel seems to get the overwhelming amount of hate from all sides and I just don’t get why? I guess every sport needs a ‘villain’ in some ways but some people take it ridiculously far – to the point if he does well ‘it’s the car, his team-mate moved for him or insert excuse here’ but if he does badly it’s because he’s universally terrible. Even his 4 WDC’s are criticised. Like even this year – where he has made mistakes the bloke is still the closest challenger to Hamilton out of what 20 other drivers? And on some days has totally bested him! To be honest one of the best things I’ve seen this year is different drivers defending others from these exact kind of disrespectful and rude questions. People that call themselves ‘fans’ take things far too far sometimes.

    1. @rocketpanda The fans on social media are really toxic. The contrasting fortunes of Hamilton and Vettel in qualifying and the race at Germany this year is the best example of the fans being awful to each other.

      Even his 4 WDC’s are criticised. Like even this year – where he has made mistakes the bloke is still the closest challenger to Hamilton out of what 20 other drivers?

      Indeed. Most notably, he’s ahead of Hamilton’s teammate.

      I mean personally I don’t like Hamilton and I hate to see him win, but I don’t sit analyzing every mistake he makes to build an argument he’s terrible?

      I don’t like seeing him win this year because it’s making the championship boring, but that’s not his fault.

    2. Sorry but you can’t say vettel is doing what no one else of the 20 drivers was able to do, we’re not born yesterday here and vettel, bottas, raikkonen are the only 3 with a car good enough to constantly challenge hamilton.

      Verstappen and ricciardo are the closest after but red bull hasn’t been always a victory contender.

      So no, vettel isn’t doing a much better job than most of the grid, merely than bottas and raikkonen, bottas who isn’t better than rosberg and raikkonen who’s well beyond his peak and arguably was never a top driver even in his prime but overrated in virtue of the fragile and incredibly fast 2005 mclaren he drove.

  11. No sincerity / sportsmanship here. Just another round of mind games from Lewis Hamilton.

    In 2007, 2016 and 2017 he was basically egging the fans + media to turn on his key championship rivals during those seasons; when they were giving him a harder time and dishing out the same sort of ruthlessness he gives.

    1. Yea it must be zen like mind games here from Hamilton. Applying pressure after he’s got the WDC in his pocket. Very deep psychological stuff I reckon. Is this why he was defending and acknowledging Stroll’s right to be in the grid the other year against the guys critics? Preparing the way for the 2028 WDC battle with Stroll? Clever stuff!

      1. @riptide You have no idea. Hamilton has been engaging in mind games with drivers still unborn and toddlers since he started in Formula 1. His dialogue in Cars 2 (2011) is a classic example of psy-ops.

  12. I agree with Hamilton and also think it is plain disrespectful to constantly point out Vettel’s mistakes this season, such as the failed pass attempt on Bottas at Azerbaijan, the collision with Bottas at the first corner in France, getting a grid penalty for impeding Sainz at Red Bull Ring, crashing out of lead at Hockenheim, colliding with Hamilton at Monza and then again with Verstappen at Suzuka.

  13. Because if you don’t show him enough respect, people might think it was not a heroic struggle by Lewis to beat Vettel with the entire world against him.

  14. I’m very surprised to hear about this, mainly because just a few hours ago I noticed that Lewis liked the instagram post that f1 did with a picture of Vettel colliding with Verstappen, hightlighting that after the promising start, he was back to square one.

    No other recent posts from f1 has been like by Lewis. Of course it’s just a double tap on a smartphone, and I wouldn’t call it disrespectful, but it sure feels like an unnecessary dig at Vettel. Like, if you like he is saying, feel the pain of performing at the highest level and how easy it is to fall into mistakes, why would you like a situation when somebody else is experiencing this?

    This has been noticed by others on Instagram. I also wondered if this could be what it is referring to as “the media”. Don’t think so, though. Maybe I’m overthinking this. Lewis is saying all the right words here, only he knows if he’s sincere or not.

    1. The first part is probably sincere, that Vettel, or all drivers, deserve (more) respect because it’s a difficult job. But then he goes into the ‘we all make mistakes’ bit. I wouldn’t say it’s calculated or premeditated but it is intended to pressurize and demoralize by pointing out Vettel has made them far more than himself. Last race Hamilton’s comment was why didn’t Ferrari swap the drivers at Monza? It was a clever spanner to throw in the Ferrari works and take some pressure offer Mercedes. All competitive athletes press home their advantage, especially where teams are involved. It’s difficult for the defeated rival to respond to – either they dwell on the fact the criticism is spot on, or they over-react in response. Either way is usually a win for the rival. The mid-course, responding calmly, forgetting the mistakes, is the difficult bit as Hamilton well knows. Vettel would do the same probably. He made a provocative comment after winning Silverstone remember – which was ‘paid back’ at Monza with the Mercedes victory lap parade.

  15. HAM lobbying for VET because he wants him to retain his seat at Ferrari so he can get another WDC due to VET’s screw ups.
    What a shame Ferrari didn’t go after RIC.
    They won’t be winning any time soon with Seb.

    1. Leclerc, though, maybe.

  16. Media? Or Sky F1? :)

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