Bernie Ecclestone has come out fully in support of 2008 F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton after a number of the McLaren-Mercedes star's rivals launched verbal attacks over the Chinese Grand Prix weekend against what they regarded as the unduly aggressive nature of his driving.
Hamilton came under fire from several of his adversaries in the drivers' briefing in Shanghai for the robust manner in which he had defended his position against a feisty Vitaly Petrov a fortnight earlier in Malaysia, with many opining that the Briton had gone too far in weaving one way and then another across the track in front of Renault's Russian rookie – and the Stevenage-born ace himself conversely insisting that he could not comprehend 'why everyone was fussing about it' or why 'they seemed to be talking about it for some time'.
Come the end of the weekend, Hamilton was still a hot topic of discussion within the paddock, only this time for his Chinese dice with Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel, with the pair running dangerously side-by-side both on the entry to the pits and then in the pit-lane itself, coming precariously close to banging wheels as they both sped away from their 'boxes determined to emerge ahead.
Whilst no penalties were deemed necessary, the two title protagonists were hauled up in front of FIA stewards afterwards and officially reprimanded for their actions – but Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Ecclestone suggests the rest of the field would do better to focus on their own driving rather than trying to pick fault with the man who has injected most of the excitement into F1 2010 thus far.
“What are they talking about?” the sport's influential commercial rights-holder told the Daily Mirror
. “Isn't this sport all about racing? I thought Lewis had a fantastic race. He drove really well and they should stop complaining and get on with the racing. I loved watching his performance in Sepang; I bet the fans did too. [The reaction] was a whole lot of moaning about nothing.”