Ferrari Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel has voiced his support for Valentino Rossi in the wake of the Italian’s clash with Marc Marquez, saying the Italian “did the right thing” on track against his adversary.
Rossi's chances of winning this year's MotoGP title took a hit last weekend at Sepang, when he controversially made contact with Marquez after running him wide, causing the Spaniard to crash.
Race direction chose to award Rossi three penalty points for the incident, relegating him to the back of the field for the title deciding race at Valencia in two weeks' time and handing the initiative in the title chase to Jorge Lorenzo.
When asked when he thought about the situation, Vettel said he felt Rossi did the "absolute right thing", and that his title hopes are still very much alive despite his setback.
"I think he still has the chance [to win] and he is a fighter," said Vettel. "It is in his nature, even if after the race obviously it sounded like he was giving up.
"He will be fighting and giving everything he has, and I think he did the absolute right thing in Malaysia.
"I know Jorge as well, and Marc a little bit, and they are very good guys. But Valentino did the right thing."
Raikkonen hopes Rossi can fight for title
Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, was more measured in his opinion – but still expressed his hope that Rossi is able to bounce back from his penalty and fight Lorenzo for the title.
"Obviously I read some stuff [about the incident], and it is a bit odd what has happened," said the Finn. "There are rules, but rules can be looked in many different ways.
"I hope [Rossi] will have a fair chance to fight for it, and it would be nice for the whole sport, and would make a very exciting race.
"He has done a great job this year and they will have a hard fight in the last race. Let's see what happens."