Lewis Hamilton has specifically addressed Sebastian Vettel’s suggestion that he was “playing around” at the Australian Grand Prix.
Vettel thought boredom played in a role in why Hamilton was over 20 seconds off race winner Valtteri Bottas and also had the Ferrari driver in mind to ensure he stayed behind.
But Hamilton has insisted that is not the case and doubts whether Vettel would have the same opinion now that the dust has settled from Australia.
“I’ve never planned to hold anybody up,” said Hamilton in Bahrain via RaceFans.Net.
“I was just doing my own race.
“Often it’s easy to point blame at other people in moments where things don’t work so well so I’m sure he probably has a different opinion now.
“It doesn’t really make a difference to me, I just focused on my job.
“I wasn’t thinking at all about his race, naturally [I wanted] to keep him behind, but I knew I had a long way to go and he stopped a lap before me so I knew that we’d be in a similar boat towards the end.
“I was thinking a bit more long-term so I could defend to up-and-coming towards the end of the race which I’m not sure he really thought of because his tyres went off quite drastically at the end.”
Mercedes found floor damage to Hamilton’s car after the race, but the Brit also said that the team had no idea that he was also running in saving mode to deliver a 1-2 finish for the team.
“My engineers had no idea that I was saving the tyres,” he added.
“They thought that I was just off the pace, which I’m sure a lot of the public thought.
“But I was saving tyres, saving fuel, making sure that I had enough to push at the end, which is all that I needed to do to finish where I was.
“I couldn’t do any more to get further ahead and I didn’t need to do any less.”