After being hit by Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and finishing second at Silverstone, Hamilton said the first-lap move was “interesting tactics” from Ferrari. The Englishman has since retracted his remarks, adding on social media: “Sometimes we say dumb s**t and we learn from it.”
And Vettel, who won an eventful race to extend his championship advantage over Hamilton, has backed the Mercedes driver’s “human” reaction.
“I think it’s fine,” Vettel said ahead of his home German GP. “Obviously it was silly to say it but we are racing, we’ve all been there and it’s never great if you are hit without doing anything wrong.
“It’s also fine to express your opinion even if it’s not right or reasonable. It’s human, so I think it’s fine.”
Ferrari also accepted Hamilton’s apology after the British GP, responding on Twitter: “We appreciate Lewis Hamilton’s comments today following Kimi Raikkonen’s apologies after the British GP, notably when Lewis described the episode at the start as a ‘racing incident’.”
Hamilton, however, did take exception to some of Vettel’s comments from Silverstone, specifically the radio message where he celebrated winning at his rivals’ home.
“I heard there was something said,” said Hamilton. “But l see that as a weakness. The whole need to say something is something we can play with.”
Vettel excited to battle Hamilton
The big news coming into the Hockenheimring weekend is that Hamilton has finally signed his new Mercedes deal, keeping him with the Silver Arrows until the end of the 2020 season.
“Congrats!” said Vettel. “I don’t know why it took so long but I think it was pretty clear.”
The Englishman’s contract extension puts him in sync with Vettel, offering the prospect of the two multi-time world champions enjoying plenty more title battles up until the new regulations in 2021.
“You want to fight the best and Lewis has been one of the best since he entered Formula 1,” added Vettel, who signed his new Ferrari deal last year.
“It’s good to be there.”
Who will have the faster car in Germany?
Despite scoring 61 points to Ferrari’s 98 across the sport’s recent triple header, Mercedes believe they had the fastest car.
“I think I generally would agree,” Vettel accepted. “They had the fastest car in the last couple of races.”
But Vettel, who has an eight-point title buffer ahead of the German GP, with every session live on Sky Sports F1, is also looking to build on a superb Silverstone race, where Ferrari brought several car upgrades.
“I think Silverstone we were a match,” he explained. “Which was great for us, because Silverstone has been a place where we were weak.
“The places before they were a bit stronger so we’ll see how things evolve here, but we brought some stuff to Silverstone which will also work with here.
“It’s a constant check of finding the advantage and then one track maybe suits you more than others. We’ll see, but I think we have a great car and we still have great potential to make it better.”
Can Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bounce back at the German GP? Watch live on Sky Sports F1 from July 20-22. Sky Sports F1 is the only place to watch every Formula 1 Grand Prix, qualifying and practice session live in 2018. Get Sky Sports F1.
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