SHANGHAI, Oct 4 (Reuters) Red Bull's Mark Webber blasted Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton today for erratic driving behind the safety car at last week's Japanese Grand Prix.
The Australian was shunted out of the race by Toro Rosso's German rookie Sebastian Vettel while in second place behind McLaren's Hamilton in heavy spray and rain with the safety car deployed.
Webber and Vettel said a sudden lurch to the right by Hamilton, the 22-year-old who will clinch the title if he wins Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, contributed to the accident.
''It definitely contributed to Sebastian hitting me up the back because he (Hamilton) wasn't doing what he was supposed to be doing, clearly,'' Webber told a news conference.
''He spoke in the drivers' meeting about how good a job he was going to do and he did the opposite. Still, we know for next time.'' The Australian, who had struggled with food poisoning and vomitted during Sunday's race, said the accident had wrecked one of his best chances in 101 grands prix starts to claim his first Formula One victory.
''It was one of the lowest points of my career last weekend, in terms of being in a position to challenge for victory, and it was taken away not even in a racing incident,'' he said.
''It was very, very hard to swallow. It's under the bridge, it's gone and we'll never get that back.'' Vettel, who said after the race that he had been distracted by Hamilton's slowing and running wide, again apologised to Webber.
''As a human being you react to movement,'' he said.
''I saw Lewis move far to the right and thought he was coming to a stop ... I obviously did not plan to ruin both of our races.'' REUTERS TB PM1500