Montreal, June 10: Sebastian Vettel urged the crowd at the Canadian Grand Prix to direct their anger at the race stewards rather than controversial winner Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton won for the fifth time in seven races in Montreal on Sunday, but did not receive a warm reception on the podium.
It was a far from routine victory for the Formula One world championship leader as Vettel, who started from pole, was on course to prevail until he was handed a five-second time penalty on lap 48 that proved costly.
The German, who was seeking a first win of the season, ran wide on turn four and was deemed to have entered the track unsafely from the grass, almost impeding Hamilton.
After receiving a frosty reception having collected his trophy, Hamilton said of the crowd: "All I can say is I didn't make the decision so I don't know what they are booing at. Maybe it's the decision."
And Vettel then promptly interjected in defence of his rival, perhaps unaware that Hamilton, who now has seven Canada triumphs to his name, had complained about the move on team radio.
The Ferrari driver said: "The people shouldn't boo at Lewis, because I think he saw what was going on and I don't think there was any intention to be in his harm's way – I had trouble to stay on track.
"But the people shouldn't boo at Lewis, if anything they should boo at these funny decisions.
"You should ask the people what they think [about the decision], I think we had a great show, Lewis showed some good respect, so yes, ask the people.
"It was very intense. I think Lewis was a bit quicker throughout the race but we were able to stay ahead and for the rest, I think I've said enough.
"It is not about the title now, we deserved to win now and that is our opinion. It was a great race, they [the crowd] cheered me on all the race. it's a bit weird now, I don't know what else to say.
"It is not making our sport popular. People want to see us race, and it was racing. Just a shame when we have these funny decisions."
Vettel fumed on team radio when he heard about his punishment in the closing stages of the race, expressing his view that the decision was "not fair" and suggesting the race win had been stolen from his grasp.