The heckling of Sebastian Vettel whenever he appears on the podium after a Grand Prix event is fast becoming part of the regular pattern of race weekends. But in Singapore on Sunday, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner lashed out against those who were giving the race a mean-spirited edge after the chequered flag.

"The boy drove an unbelievable race. What we have witnessed is one of the best drives I've seen him produce in terms of raw pace and what he was able to deliver," he said afterwards. "To see a driver who has put in a performance like that and to not get the reception he deserves is not sporting."

Horner was himself on the podium on Sunday to receive the winning constructor's trophy, and so had the ideal vantage point to see and experience what it felt like from first hand.

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"Standing up on the podium, what you see is a small collective group, and it's like a pantomime. It ripples off, and it's unfair and unsporting," he said. "When you've driven your heart out and you are getting that reaction, to me it's not fair and not right."

Vettel himself laughed off the latest outbreak of booing that greeted his appearance on the podium. "It seems as if they are on a tour and they are wealthy enough to come on flights to Singapore," he said.

"They are on a tour, they come to every race. Fortunately we keep winning so they've got a reason to boo," he added. "If they boo, it's a compliment - that's the way I take it, they are jealous because I win.

"It's not people from Singapore or from one country only," he continued. "There were a lot of German flags around the track, there are a lot of Germans here in Singapore, it's a very international city. The parade lap was quite nice and also the lap after the chequered flag there were a lot of people cheering. Obviously I didn't give them the most exciting race but on days like this, I really don't mind."

But while Vettel might be insisting it was water off a duck's back to the driver, Horner painted a different picture and said that the driver couldn't help but be affected and hurt by the reception he was currently being subjected to.

"He says it doesn't affect him, that he doesn't feel it, and he does have a broad set of shoulders," Horner said. "But he is a human being at the end of the day, and like anyone he has feelings."

Horner admitted that the situation might date back to the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier this year, and Vettel's decision to ignore team orders and pass his popular team mate Mark Webber for victory at Sepang.

"I'm sure it didn't help," Horner agreed. "There was an awful lot written about it, there were circumstances involved in that, but it's done."

More likely is that people simply don't like to see the same person winning all the time and dominating races to the extent that Vettel did this weekend.

"When you have a guy who is a serial winner, like with Muhammad Ali, they want to see who is going to beat him," conceded Horner. "I guess that's the case at the moment, that people want to see who is going to beat Sebastian.

"So when he keeps winning, it isn't the most popular result, but he's a great kid with a great sense of humour, a big heart, and of course, he is ambitious, he will push and he enjoys winning.

"It's a shame and I hope it will change at the forthcoming races," he added. "I still think it's not sporting and it's not fair not to recognise a sportsman when he delivers in the way that he has."

While Horner's defence of Vettel and criticism of the heckling might be expected since he's Vettel's boss, his sentiments were picked up by other prominent figures in the F1 paddock - including the always-outspoken former world champion Niki Lauda, now non-executive chairman of Red Bull's chief rivals Mercedes.

"It's ridiculous, these people don't understand what the guy is doing," Lauda told Sky Sports F1. "I take my hat off to his performance because the guy was leading the race from the first lap onwards, could have lapped everybody and if I could choose I would give him the world championship today for this drive. For me he was outstanding.

"Vettel did nothing wrong. The same happened in Italy because they love Ferrari. But if Ferrari was better they wouldn't have to boo the other guy, it's very simple."

The master of ceremonies for the Singapore podium was former F1 driver turned broadcaster Martin Brundle, who actually stopped to admonished those in the crowd who were booing.

"I was really amazed to hear the booing going on," said Brundle later. "It has become a default, and it's wrong because the guy has just put in stunning sporting performance

"They don't like one person dominant, but what can you do?" he added. "He is in a groove and in a class of his own. We should be celebrating that brilliance."