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Hamilton sticks up for Vettel
Lewis Hamilton has vigorously defended Sebastian Vettel following the latest round of boos and jeers to cast a shadow over his march to a fourth successive Formula One world title.
As Red Bull team principal Christian Horner remarked after Vettel's third successive victory, and seventh in 13 races this season with his win in Singapore, the 26-year-old was "in a class of his own".
In opening up a 60-point lead over his nearest rival in Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, it is only a matter of time before Vettel becomes a four-time champion.
But Vettel has also now become F1's version of a pantomime villain because every time he steps on to the podium, the audience below turn on the German.
Following the race, Horner snapped back at Vettel's detractors, claiming their behaviour was "unfair, unsporting" and "not right".
Vettel has also garnered the support of Hamilton, who could do no more than fifth in his Mercedes under the lights of the Marina Bay Street Circuit to leave him 96 points adrift.
"Booing is just such a negative thing, especially when someone works so hard to be successful," said Hamilton.
"No-one should ever be booed for their success, no matter how easy or hard it has been for them to get to where they are.
"I saw a glimpse of him on the podium and I was happy for him.
"I tried to imagine what it would be like if I was winning races as easy as he has been winning them.
"But it's definitely not a positive thing to hear he has been booed.
"He's on his way to his fourth world championship, and he needs all the credit he deserves."
Hamilton was supported by Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, who said: "It's a shame because he is a well-deserved world champion.
"The kind of dominance he has put together is something they should be cheering, not booing."
Via his Twitter account, Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo - who will be partnering Vettel at Red Bull next year - also criticised the growing negativity towards Vettel.
Ricciardo said: "Disappointed to hear some fans' response to Vettel's domination. Can't have hate for excellence."
Horner was at least delighted and grateful to hear those within the paddock were behind his star driver on this occasion.
"Ultimately, you would like to think that 90% of the people here are sportsmen," said Horner.
"You will never ever see a Red Bull mechanic jumping up and down at the misfortune of another competitor because that is not sporting at the end of the day.
"He produced a stunning performance, an absolutely stunning performance, and that should be applauded. It shouldn't be booed."
Vettel was eager to laugh off the jeers post-race, claiming the fans who boo him are on tour following him around the world.
Horner felt, however, that despite Vettel possessing broad shoulders, he is a human being with feelings at the end of the day and would be hurt by such condemnation.
Horner is now urging Vettel to use the derision as further fuel for his motivation as he closes in on title number four.
"I will just tell him to ignore it, feed off it," added Horner. "A few years ago they were booing Fernando Alonso when he was racing against Lewis Hamilton (at McLaren) or during his dominant years at Renault.
"But quite often the pantomime villain becomes a hero."