Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

Hamilton defends Vettel after fourth spin in 10 races

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton defended rival Sebastian Vettel’s record after the Ferrari driver spun while the pair were racing in Bahrain – his fourth such error in the last 10 races.

The Mercedes driver said he had “no idea” how Vettel came to spin at turn four while the pair were fighting over second place. “I looked at the replay and we didn’t touch,” said Hamilton, adding, “It was really windy there.”

Vettel spun in similar circumstances while vying for position with Hamilton at Monza last year. In the nine races since he’s also spun while battling with Max Verstappen at Suzuka and Daniel Ricciardo at the Circuit of the Americas.

Asked about Vettel’s spins, Hamilton said “there’s too few of them to really look too much into it” and said the mistakes pale in comparison to his rival’s achievements. The Ferrari driver has won four world championships and 52 grands prix.

“It happens to all of us,” said Hamilton. “Just because you’re a multiple world champion doesn’t mean you’re not going to have off weekends.

“It’s more cumulative. Look at Vettel’s career, he’s had stunning performances that far more outweigh the weaker races and when he’s spun, for example. They’re miniscule on the status he’s accumulated and created.”

Vettel was unable to match the pace of junior team mate Charles Leclerc during the race, which Hamilton believes was due to Vettel being unhappy with his car’s balance.

“There are always times when you just happen to not get the right car set-up, which you guys don’t get to see. All these little things that we’re doing, it just doesn’t happen to work that weekend and the differences are so small yet they look so big.

“I don’t know why their car was so different in pace but I’ve had races; I remember looking back on me and Nico [Rosberg] in Barcelona, we were quick in testing and then there was massive differences in the car in the race and you’re just literally driving with your hands behind your back, you’ve got no grip. And then another race it’s the other way.

“I don’t know why that happens but today was one of those for him. But he’s a world champion and great athlete, he will recover and keep pushing.”

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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...
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...

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79 comments on “Hamilton defends Vettel after fourth spin in 10 races”

  1. Pure class from Hamilton this weekend in regards to the Ferrari issues

    1. he knows how it feels.

    2. Hail Lewis!! Give me a break. He isn’t doing anything another driver wouldn’t have done if he won the race.
      Like LEC should be grateful the high and mighty HAM patted him on the @$$.
      It’s easy to be nice when things work out in your favor.
      He won – that all he cares about. Insincere at best.

    3. So a Brit co-worker and Hamilton fan came over today and was gloating about how good a sport HAM was for showing sympathy towards LEC.
      The same HAM who wouldn’t acknowledge ROS when he won (ROS) the WDC and still refuses to speak to him I replied?
      Being gracious in defeat is a hell of a lot more difficult than in victory.

  2. The headline is trying too hard to disregard what the interviewee saying.

    1. @ruliemaulana Haha. Well said. It does tend to miss the sentiment.

      1. I think the title covers the words and sentiment of the Hamilton quotes quite well.

        1. Hamilton said “there’s too few of them to really look too much into it”

          I think Hamilton’s saying the opposite of the headline, frankly. He seems to want MORE Vettel spins so he can fully, factually, scientifically examine the causes and dynamics of Vettel’s spins.
          I agree with him. It could be a new field of study in physics. Imagine exploring the stars propelled by futuristic Vettel Spin (TM) engines!
          I don’t know about more WDCs in Vettel’s future, but I can easily see him getting a Nobel Prize out of this.

          1. I agree with him. It could be a new field of study in physics. Imagine exploring the stars propelled by futuristic Vettel Spin (TM) engines!
            I don’t know about more WDCs in Vettel’s future, but I can easily see him getting a Nobel Prize out of this.

            :-D Thanks for the laugh!

  3. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    1st April 2019, 7:33

    Say anything you want about Lewis and Vettel and their skills, but they are class act. The respect they have for each other is great.

  4. Hamilton defends Vettel’s mistakeS to help him stay longer on Ferrari, so he has one strong competitor (Leclerc) to focused on, instead of two from Ferrari… Just saying~~~

    1. Pls stop with the baseless mind reading… Jus saying~~~

    2. Yes, that’s how Ferrari makes their driver line up decisions.
      Maybe that’s how All teams do it; just reading Lewis’ qoutes :P

  5. Too few of them?

    The only difference between Vettel and Ukyo Katayama, who became the running gag of the paddock, is that Katayama didn’t have the car to recover those errors. And that he had a worse driving car in the first place. There is no excuse for a Ferrari driver to make that many mistakes when the car clearly is good enough to win races.

    1. Totally agree. Seb needs to cut these mistakes out. He already lost a championship last year from these mistakes, arguably the year before too…

      1. Don’t think he lost anything in 2017 with his errors, the car was overall subpar, agree on the rest.

    2. Yes. in other words those mistakes that in tenis we say , unforced errors like Germany last yr and this very one.

  6. IMO Vettel still hasn’t recovered from that crash at Germany last year.

    Up until that point he was driving well, he made a slick move on Hamilton in Austria and Bottas in Silverstone for the win. He was leading the WDC and all was going well.

    Since that crash in Hockenheim he has gradually deteriorated.

    1. Same sentiment here, @kingshark.

      1. Personally I think it goes back further than that. I don’t think he ever recovered from the public slating from Baku 2017

    2. @kingshark
      I think “deteriorate” might be the right word. He doesn’t seem to be the same driver. I wonder if he has lost some of his senses, reflexes, or whatever.

      1. Alex McFarlane
        1st April 2019, 18:28

        He lost exhaust blown diffusers, which Newey and Red Bull mastered.

        Now he has to look after the rear end himself, he looks like what he probably always was – a good driver, but not a great one.

    3. 100% mental, like 2011 when Hamilton had girlfriend problems and a magnet for Massa.

    4. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
      1st April 2019, 11:38

      Yeah I have to agree with that. He has had some solid races since but he isn’t the same. Vettel doesn’t lack the speed but he is his own worst enemy it seems.

      1. That’s because he can only drive fast, not race (well enough). Those are two different areas a driver must own. Vettel never did but found himself in a car where he didn’t have to race, but just be fast.

    5. @kingshark – I agree he deteroriated since Hockenheim but all was not well before. Vettel made a mistake at the Baku restart and hit Bottas at the start in France. There was previous year’s Baku, Singapore and Mexico. He can overtake but struggles under pressure – look at all those errors in 2009, 2010 and 2012 Red Bulls when he hadn’t had dominant car and crumbled when things weren’t going right. Even Canada 2011 fits the picture.

    6. @kingshark Yet in Austria he also gave himself a needless penalty. Ultimately this cost him the race win.

      He past Bottas in Silverstone only after Bottas’ tyres ere completely wasted. Hardly an achievement. Hamilton and Raikkonen both also drove past Bottas with no effort et all

      Plus you forget France and Azerbaijan races where Vettel crashed/went off

    7. @kingshark – Have to agree with @michal2009b and @f1osaurus, things were not great for Vettel long before Germany. The poor finish in China was not all his fault, but the 4th in Azerbaijan and 5th in France were. And the non-win in Austria when HAM had a retirement, due to Vettel’s practice-based penalty.

      The very, very few people who get the best of Hamilton over the course of the season do so by amassing every point possible, especially when Hamilton is on the back foot. Had Vettel made fewer mistakes the first half of last season, the second half might have had less pressure.

      To your point, Germany may have been the last chance Vettel had to really keep the season from tipping over entirely. But I think his issues were visible in the first few races. And have shown themselves again already this season.

    8. A lot from the pressure of driving for Red. Alonso knows.

      1. Alonso never had a problem with it. You didn’t see Alonso randomly crashing into other cars or spinning off track.

  7. It was such a strange spin, it just seemed to just drift round for no reason. Maybe the dirty air from the front right wing of Hamilton’s car hit the front right of vettels, unbalancing the downforce. The Ferrari is fast on an open track but seems to be poor in traffic. Leclerc was poor at the race start when racing wheel to wheel.

    1. @emu55
      I thought the same. Vettel spun just as Hamilton’s wake passed across his car at around 45°. Strange coincidence, makes me wonder about the previous incidents – but not enough to go find footage :)

      1. Biggest difference with previous incidents is there was contact in Monza, Suzuka and Austin.

        There was no contact in Bahrain. It did sound like, in the post-race interview, that Hamilton noticed the strong headwind as he approached the corner, and used it to allow him to brake later– it’s possible some combination of air coming off Hamilton’s car combined with the headwind to spin Vettel– or it’s possible that Hamilton’s very late braking threw Vettel off a bit while his car was unbalanced.

        Regardless, I recall Felipe Massa spinning more than 5 times in a single race (2008 British GP), and no one said he was done as an F1 driver.

        Ultimately, though, the problem is that Hamilton isn’t making / having the same kind of issues, and that puts Vettel at a disadvantage in the WDC.

    2. @emu55 Why does it need to be “something”? Vettel himself said over the radio that he was taken by surprise and made a mistake. Simple driver error. From a driver who makes a lot of these errors.

  8. This is the worst April’s fools article that I’ve ever seen

    1. Waaaaaait… is Keith trolling us? :)

  9. Not sure why people are confused why he spun, he clearly just kept too much steering lock on with too much power and around it went. Its no mystery!

    1. I haven’t seen anyone point out that in that same corner, there was the cris-crossed skid marks from an earlier spin at that exact spot where Vettel went around. So, someone (Stroll perhaps?) went around at that spot over the course of the weekend. Sky was making it a point of the wind changing directions as you made the corner (and everywhere ELSE in and around the paddock.) I can’t remember who said it in the broadcast but this rung true; “Ambition exceeded adhesion…”

  10. you’re just literally driving with your hands behind your back

    It’s funny when people abuse the word ‘literally’ to make their point clear.

    1. @matthijs – I know, it literally drives me up the wall ;)

      1. @phylyp Haha I’m literally LMAO

      2. but looking at Vettel’s mistake he might have been driving with his hands behind his back, literally

    2. The dictionary adjusted the words meaning to adapt to its misuse

      1. really? Literally does not mean literally?

        1. It does and also doesn’t

          1. Literally the poorest definition in the dictionary.

          2. @knewmam you mean literally is the most literate definition in the dictionary because it literally isn’t?

      2. @philipgb you’re right, I just looked this up… and now I’m tilted.

        1. You have to be literate to understand this discussion and You have to own a sense of humour to understand why You are having this discussion:-)

  11. Vettel 4 spins in 10 races in car he doesnt like. Hamilton 2 wins from 9 poles in best team and dominant car.
    Leclerc just two great drives

    1. What are you talking about. 2 wins in 9 poles ? and a car Vettel doesn’t like?😂😂😂

    2. lol he said car was amazing lol. Imagine thinking Vet was the benchmark in the Ferrari. Put Alonso or Hamilton in the ferrari last year they win the championship

      1. He’s got the mafia twisting his arm he said similar compliments last year until end of season with a not too well reported comment that Ferrari didnt have the best car. They also attempted to bring down Alonso because he criticised the car/team even Schumacher wading in who would only drive for Brawn.

        The best internet F1 quote of all time was the poster who said ‘Vettel is doing at Ferrari what Alonso couldn’t do’ (blatantly a Hamilton fan)

        We all know Ferrari are the problem since Brawn left yet the pundits big them up becasue a few tracks actually suit the way the car was designed. Notice how each year there are more pundits being paid.

    3. Youre right. Let him race on the RB9.
      He loves It.

    4. @BigJoe

      You should be a politician. Somehow you have selectively reviewed Hamilton and have attempted to make Vettel look better despite the past 2seasons going Hamilton’s way in cars that were evenly matched.

      But then again, it is April fools.

      1. @blazzz

        I’m not attempting to make Vettel look better. Hamilton has driven for the best team, and still is, that is undeniable.

        When Hamilton fans ignore his horrendous 2 wins from 9 poles and his poor starts, there’s no point attempting to even discuss Vettel’s merits. He may as well have never driven for Red Bull. People literally act like he’s just that kid who had a few good races at Torro Rosso.

        1. 2 wins from 9 poles on Australia. What about his 11 wins out of 21 races last year?

          Don’t fool us, pal.

    5. Big Joke, You mispelled even your own alias!

  12. Imo Seb hasn’t recovered from danric thrashing him in the red bull been a different driver ever since

  13. Nice joke: 1st April…

    Lewis defending Vettel.

    1. Its not the first time he’s done it TBH.

    2. He’s not exactly going to admit he’s winning against a muppet is he?

    3. @jureo Wolff even encouraged Vettel to keep doing this. Of course Wolff and Hamilton are doing this. By making all these mistakes, Vettel delivered them the championships in 2017 and 2018.

      1. @f1osaurus Well Mercedes won themself the championship. Vettel did his best to throw his away.

        1. @jureo Potato potahto.

          Either way, if Vettel had kept his head cool h would have won the WDC wih a big margin. Motorsport-total did an analysis and they claim he should have had 142 points more relative to Hamilton than he did. Which would have given the WDC to Vettel with 54 points in the lead.

          So this really was NOT a championship Hamilton should have been able to win. Only because Vettel threw away 5 wins and another lot of points with smaller blunders, was he able to take it.

  14. Imagine Vet and Rai in the car this year. All we would be hearing is what mega lap by Vet to outqualify a quicker car buy less than a tenth. What a driver he is to beat Lewis, Merc are way faster again bla bla bla…. We get to see Hamilton win his 3rd title in the 2nd fastest car. Would love know who has done that before. Get Alo in that car Hamilton would not have the stats he has. Vet is a poor poor benchmark

  15. I think it must be a kind of mental issue. It seems that at the moment, as soon as Seb gets in close combat with another fast car he just panics and throws it away. Basically this needs to stop as is very capable of close racing.

    In this situation it might have been better to just let Lewis past as later on his tyres may have deteriorated more quickly handing the place back again.

    I think Seb has to sort this out off track somehow.

    1. At least Vettel doesn’t need to work on his starts and has a better chance of winning from Pole than Lewis with 2 of 9.

      1. What on earth is this 2 of 9 nonsense?

        But yes, Vettel only gets pole if he has a car that’s by far the fastest of the lot and he has no real team mate. He only wins when he starts from the front row and when no other car comes near him all race.

        Yet Hamilton won races like Baku, Germany and Monza in 2018 where Vettel had the fastest car yet he failed to score a win. Also see races like Hungary where Ferrari were fastest all weekend until a few drops of rain fell in Q3.

        When Vettel has a spin he recovers back to P5 or P4 at best (ie last of the undamaged top cars). Hamilton usually gets back onto the podium. Silverstone Hamilton got back to P2 and in Germany he actually won the race.

        You don’t really see Vettel doing that. Let alonme multiple times in a single season. We see Vettel fail in many races though.

        1. There were safety cars in silverstone, and hamilton for obvious reasons doesn’t have to recover that often; counterexample? Brasil 2017, mercedes was the fastest car, hamilton was surprised bottas didn’t beat vettel with it, and he recovered to 4th, that’s normal without SC.

  16. Vettel always sucked at wheel-to-wheel racing, and all those light-to-flag wins in the dominant Red Bulls didn’t help face the issue.
    He was the same clumsy driver back in 2009, but it was ascribed to his youth and having a front-running car for the first time.
    Then in 2010 he was a crash-kid and it was ascribed to the pressured of having to deliver the WDC for the first time.
    In 2012 he was again pathetic but it was glossed over, because he won in the end. No thanks to his driving though, but mostly because of Ferrari’s horrible car development. His driving in Brazil was a case-in-point of horrible driving under pressure and in the pack.
    Then 2014 when he was pressured by Ric.
    Then the following Ferrari years, where he was found wanting when he finally had a car he had to deliver with.

    All in all, he was always, at best, mediocre when fighting under pressure.

  17. If Vettel can’t get his head right, how much longer does he have with Ferrari?

    Dreaming of the day they snatch up Ricciardo as replacement. Get that guy out of Renault, he deserves better!

    1. Uhm. Hulkenberg might have something to say about that.

      1. They both deserve ferrari but probably hulk does more than ricciardo, who LEFT a top team, he had his chance, hulk never did.

  18. I said it many times before, Ferrari will regret not to sign with Ricciardo. Vettel is a good boy but thats not enough. Leclerc on the other hand was brilliant, but he still lacks lots of experience and this will hurt him and Ferrari during the season. Ricciardo & Leclerc would have been a very good driver pair for Ferrari. I’m very sorry for Leclerc, his race pace was even better his super pole lap, but that’s life.

    1. You talk like RIC wasn’t giving Renault regret thoughts so far. Vettel is a good boy; Ricciardo is a funny one, so what? One has 4 WDCs, the other 4 wins (I know it’s 7!). Ricciardo will never be greater than Vettel, that is something certain.

      1. What? Stats aren’t everything, ricciardo proved to be superior to vettel, both when they had the same car and lately.

  19. It’s more cumulative. Look at Vettel’s career, he’s had stunning performances that far more outweigh the weaker races and when he’s spun, for example. They’re miniscule on the status he’s accumulated and created

    The evident problem with that is Vettel isn’t diluting his blunders, hence why it is such a big deal.
    Take Senna for example, having been the most erratic of the legends, he’s still a solid GOAT candidate. However, I don’t recall him messing up regularly at so much few occasions.

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