Lewis Hamilton insists he still respects Felipe Massa despite their confrontation after the Singapore grand prix last weekend.
McLaren’s Hamilton left the street circuit still wearing his sweaty overalls and declining to complete his media duties after Brazilian Massa, his 2008 title nemesis, accosted him during an interview with German television.
He finally spoke about the issue this week during a demonstration in India.
“He (Massa) was a bit angry … he was a bit forceful at the end,” said Briton Hamilton, “but I just ignored it and moved on.
“This is the most competitive sport in the world. And there are going to be instances like this. I have a lot of respect for Felipe still, regardless of how he has behaved.”
His boss Martin Whitmarsh said before leaving Singapore that 2011 “has not been a good season” for Hamilton, who has been regularly involved in track incidents.
And his teammate Jenson Button is now the only driver still mathematically in the running for dominant Sebastian Vettel’s title crown.
“Jenson is doing a great job,” Hamilton acknowledged. “I am not really going to even try and compete with him anymore (in 2011) because he has deserved it.
“He has done better than me right through the season and even if I did well in the remaining five races, it wouldn’t matter.”