Mark Webber has lashed out at sections of the media he feels have twisted comments he made in the Shanghai paddock on the eve of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix to suit the current anti-Lewis Hamilton agenda.
The Australian, who confirmed that the GPDA intended to talk to Hamilton, asked the BBC's Radio Five Live
station to broadcast a clarification of statements attributed to him after he spoke to journalists on Thursday, insisting that a lot of positive comment on the McLaren driver had been left out of newspaper reports in favour of references to the death of a marshal at Monza in the 2000 season.
Webber, commenting on the current debate over Hamilton's aggressive driving style, had moved on from discussing the Briton's habit of moving around in the braking area of corners to refer to the tragic death of Paolo Ghislimberti, which came as the result of two cars touching wheels in similar circumstances. He insists, however, that, at no point, did he brand Hamilton a threat to anyone's life.
"I know I never said the word 'kill'," Webber, who was forced onto the grass by Hamilton at this year's Italian GP, claimed, "It's clear there have been a few manoeuvres in the braking area that some of us have not agreed with, and I used Monza eight years ago as an example of that type of situation where we can have cars flying through the air.
"I said a lot of positive stuff about Lewis. [I'm] very disappointed at those headlines, I'm disappointed with the press. They come to you for your expertise and experience and, sometimes, they slate you."
Hamilton also received a little support after his frustrating Japanese Grand Prix appearance last weekend from BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld. The German, team-mate to one of Hamilton's biggest critics of late, Robert Kubica, told BBC Sport
that he felt the McLaren driver had been unfairly punished for his move at the first corner.
Hamilton, having lost the advantage of pole position off the line, attempted to repass Kimi Raikkonen in turn one of the Fuji circuit, but succeeded only in forcing the leading group wide. While many pointed to the moment as justification for the recent wave of criticism, however, Heidfeld was not among them, even though he does agree with the belief that his rival can be a little too combative at times.
"I think the penalty he got in the last race was unreasonable," the German insisted, "On the other side, I think he is a pretty hard driver. Sometimes it helps his results and sometimes he gets penalties but he is very aggressive."
Hamilton, meanwhile, continued to shrug off the criticism, insisting that he was not reading the comments attributed to many of his rivals in the media and claiming that he remained focused on the job of winning the world title.
"They have the right to their own opinion," the Briton said after leading both practice sessions on Friday, "It's a shame they all think that way but, at the end of the day, my driving is why I'm here and is why I'm leading the championship. I'm not disappointed with that."