Lewis Hamilton has launched a fierce defence of his championship rival, Sebastian Vettel, on Instagram following the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday in which the German came in for fresh criticism, saying the media needs to show him a lot more respect.
Vettel went into the GP in Suzuka knowing that he had to better the result of Hamilton in order to be in with a realistic shout of keeping up in the Formula 1 championship race, in which he is second to the Mercedes driver in first.
Any potential showdown between Vettel and Hamilton in Japan was swiftly cut short when Vettel's Ferrari collided with Max Verstappen of Red Bull, sending the German into a spin and backwards in the standings.
Hamilton cruised to victory, but has defended Vettel following the scathing criticism which has been sent his way, particularly from the media in Ferrari's home nation of Italy.
"I feel the media need to show a little more respect for Sebastian," Hamilton wrote on Instagram.
"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 expected that being humans we will make mistakes but it is how we get through them that counts."
Hamilton now enjoys a 67-point lead over Vettel in the driver's standings, and could potentially wrap up the championship at the United States Grand Prix later this month, which would see him equal the five titles of Juan Manuel Fangio.
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