Lewis Hamilton has responded to Sebastian Vettel's claim that the two Mercedes performed like a 'couple of buses' in the early stages of the Monaco Grand Prix by saying that the German has been spoiled for the past four seasons.

The reigning world champion, who was denied a place on the front row of the Monaco grid by the two Silver Arrows, attempted to find a way by into turn one of the 78-lap race, but was forced to follow until the first safety car, approaching mid-distance, finally gave him an opportunity to gain a place at Hamilton's expense.

Although he subsequently explained that it was a brilliant tactical drive by eventual race winner Nico Rosberg, in which his fellow German had been able to preserve his tyres in order to make a one-stop strategy work but still have enough life left in them to respond to RBR's attacks, Vettel's comments came under fire from Hamilton, who felt that the sentiments had been misplaced.

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"He has had the fastest car for the last four years, so it's easy for him to say that," the Briton was quoted by sportinglife.com, "He's got it easy. We are making our way up, we are learning, growing, improving with a car that has great potential, so I don't agree with him."

Hamilton has already admitted that he was at fault for the gap that allowed Vettel and RBR team-mate Mark Webber to claim second and third places in Monaco [ see separate story], and has vowed to do all he can to give the team 'a one-two at some stage' after missing the opportunity at the biggest event of the season.

By finishing two points behind Vettel on Sunday, Hamilton has dropped 45 points off the German's championship lead, albeit still in fourth place overall.