Lewis Hamilton backs Sebastian Vettel to recover from setback

Lewis Hamilton has backed perennial title rival Sebastian Vettel to recover from his challenging weekend at Formula 1’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Vettel was beaten to pole position by young Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc and had no answer to the 21-year-old’s pace in the wake of their early battle for the lead.

Vettel duelled with Hamilton for the runner-up spot but spun through Turn 4 as he was being passed by the Mercedes driver, and dropped down the order as a result, eventually recovering to fifth.

It comes after Vettel spun in three races during the second half of 2018, contributing to his and Ferrari’s title defeat, but Hamilton had sympathy for his rival’s display in Bahrain.

“I would say there’s too few of them [spins] to really look to much into it,” said Hamilton.

“I looked at the replay and we didn’t touch, which is a good thing, it was really windy there. No idea why it happened for him.

“Just because you’re a multiple World Champion doesn’t mean you’re not going to have off weekends. It’s more cumulative.

“You look at Vettel’s career and he’s had stunning performances that more than outweigh the weaker races or when he’s spun for example.

“They’re minuscule on the status that he’s accumulated and created.

“There’s always times you happen to just not get the right car set-up – which you guys [media] don’t get to see all these little things we’re doing – and it just doesn’t happen to work that weekend and the differences are so small yet they look so big.

“I’ve had races, I remember looking back me and Nico [Rosberg] in Barcelona, we were quick in testing and then there were massive differences in the car in the race and you’re driving with your hands behind your back thinking you’ve got no grip. Then another race it’s the other way [around].

“I don’t know why that happens but Bahrain was one of those for him. But he’s a World Champion, a great athlete, he will recover, keep pushing.”