Lewis Hamilton has rebuked "silly comments" made by Red Bull advisor Dr Helmet Marko in the wake of the Mercedes driver being lapped by Max Verstappen at the recent race in Imola.
The seven-time F1 champion continued a painful start to the season by finishing only 13th in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix two weeks ago, a lap down on last season's bitter title rival and eventual victor Verstappen.
In the wake of the result, former F1 driver Marko said: "Maybe he [Hamilton] should have stopped last year he is thinking, Maybe."
The comments were in relation to a period of uncertainty over whether Hamilton would continue in F1 given the controversial ending to last season's campaign.
Fuel was added to the speculation by the fact the Briton executed a social media silence whilst team principal Toto Wolff cast doubt over his own driver's future.
Hamilton had posted a remark on Instagram seemingly aimed at Marko's jibe but asked if he was fuelled by the remarks, he replied: "I don't listen to those silly comments to be honest.
"Ultimately, it has been interesting to see there have been quite a lot of disrespectful comments over time but it is to be expected.
"I just keep my head down. I know who I am, I know what I do, I love what I do.
"[The team is] Going through a tough time, we didn't come out the starting blocks the way we wanted but we are fighters and if you don't know that about me then you don't know me and that is totally fine.
"I will keep doing my best to huddle up and group up with the team and fight as hard as we can."
Hamilton - "This is where Mercedes unite"
Whilst Hamilton has been struggling for form in the W13 after clinching a fortuitous podium at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, team-mate George Russell is the only driver on the grid to have claimed four top-five finishes in four races.
Hamilton suggested at Imola he was in his most difficult period since 2009 and asked who he sought inspiration from to turn fortunes around, he insisted: "I wouldn't say there is one individual during this time I am focused on.
"I look all around me and I try to ignore all the negative that I see. I am not really watching the news a lot but there are so many inspiring characters out there who [are] continuously proving you never give up, keep pushing."
On the support from the Mercedes family, Hamilton added: "I love working with this team.
"Being in a team is such a privilege and working with so many people towards a common goal... and everyone lifting each other up, I have had so many amazing conversations with my team-mates this past week.
"It is incredible how supportive everyone has been through difficult times and we have had the most incredible times together so a couple of bad races is not going to stop us in our tracks.
"This is where we unite, this is where we learn more about ourselves as individuals, where we grow the most and which makes our eventual success - which I have no doubts we will eventually get to - taste even better."