Hamilton, Vettel keep respect for 2017 battle

F1's title protagonists insist they will continue to "respect" one another through their 2017 battle.

Just 6 points divides Sebastian Vettel from Lewis Hamilton after 5 races.

The pair came close to touching wheels two weeks ago in Barcelona, where Mercedes' Hamilton called the Ferrari driver's move "dangerous".

But afterwards, they said their mutual respect remains intact.

"I didn't say anything bad," Hamilton said. "I'm glad I was able to have a battle and didn't damage anything but there's nothing lost between us. The respect stays the same."

Ferrari's Vettel agrees: "Away from the track there is no reason not to get along with each other.

"You always have to respect when the others do a good job," he is quoted by DPA news agency. "The respect will remain."

Hamilton won in Barcelona recently, but Mercedes team figures have been quoted as saying they are worried about Monaco, where the long-wheelbase car concept could struggle.

Vettel admits he hopes Monaco is not as close a battle as Barcelona.

"The idea of having close battles is obviously nice," said the German. "But we don't want to battle them close, we want to be ahead of them."

(GMM)

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