Lewis Hamilton: Sebastian Vettel does not deserve to be booed

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Singapore Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel booed on podium after win

Lewis Hamilton says it is wrong for fans to boo Sebastian Vettel on the podium after grands prix.

The Red Bull driver was booed after winning Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix, continuing a pattern that has developed since the Canadian race in June.

Hamilton, who finished fifth, said: "No-one should be booed for their success, no matter how easy or hard it has been for them to get there.

"Booing is so negative, especially when someone works so hard to be a success."

Hamilton, 28, said he was "happy" for Vettel when he saw the German on the podium after his seventh win in 13 races this season.

The win has moved Vettel, 26, closer to a fourth consecutive world title. Vettel is 60 points ahead of his closest rival - Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who finished second in Singapore - with a maximum of 150 available in the remaining six races.

Vettel wins Singapore GP in style

Hamilton said: "I tried to imagine (when I saw him on the podium) what it would be like if I was winning races as easy as he has been winning them.

"It's every driver's dream to have a car to be able to fight. Me, I don't want to be that far ahead. I want to be able to fight with him, or whoever.

"But this is the way it is. It's definitely not a positive thing to hear he has been booed.

"He's on his way to his fourth world championship, and he needs all the credit he deserves."

Asked if he was depressed by Vettel's consistent dominance of F1 with Red Bull, Hamilton said: "It's not depressing. It's nothing new.

"I look at his laps on the on-board camera and it doesn't appear as though he is on the limit like some other drivers.

"When you have that much in hand it makes it that much easier to do so. At the end of the day he does the job he needs to do.

"They've also made a step somewhere on the car this weekend, but I still feel like we can fight at some point through the weekends for the rest of the season."

Hamilton admitted his title hopes were finished - he is in third place in the championship, 96 points behind Vettel.

"Yeah," he said. "There's always fight in me.

"Even in this race I still drove with the thought I could win, and that will remain the same for the rest of the year.

"Realistically, he is just under 100 points ahead of me, he always wins and he is going to continue on that curve."

He said his target now was to overtake Alonso and finish second in the drivers' championship, and get his Mercedes team into second ahead of Ferrari in the constructors' title race. Mercedes are only seven points behind.

But he admitted beating Alonso would not be easy because of the Spaniard's consistent ability to finish on the podium despite usually qualifying outside the top five.

"That's going to be the target, but if we do what we did in this race then that's not going to happen," Hamilton said, after finishing one place behind team-mate Nico Rosberg. Ferrari's second driver, Felipe Massa, was sixth.

"It's no coincidence Fernando always ends up second, even though he has qualified further behind."