Force India pair Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg have backed Narain Karthikeyan after the HRT driver found himself under fire for a clash with Sebastian Vettel in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Karthikeyan made contact with Vettel's Red Bull in the closing stages of the race, leading to the defending champion being forced to pit with a puncture and finishing down in eleventh place.
Following the race, Vettel referred to 'idiots' on the track, with Karthikeyan saying he felt the top drivers sometimes bullied the back-markers when trying to lap traffic.
However, both di Resta and Hulkenberg have support for Karthikeyan on the back of the incident, with the pair saying the comments from Vettel were likely to have been affected by the heat of the moment.
"Though I have not really seen the incident, I am sure a lot of what was said was said in the heat of the moment,” di Resta was quoted by the Times of India
following a Mercedes promotional event at the Buddh International Circuit. “Maybe he used the wrong words. Emotions run high in Formula One and sometimes you tend to say what you don't really mean.
“Having said that, Narain is entitled to do as much on the track in comparison as someone like Vettel. Both are F1 drivers and are there to represent their teams.”
Hulkenberg added that the outburst was just a sign of Vettel's emotion at a missed opportunity to score points.
"I heard about whatever happened and I also saw it on TV,” Hulkenberg added. “From what I saw, it was not Narain's fault. So, I don't really understand why he said all of that.
"I think Vettel was just emotional at that point of time. He lost out on points, it was frustrating for him and his team. At the end of the day, he is just human and sometimes you get emotional."