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Hamilton angered by team instructions

NEWS STORY
28/07/2014

Lewis Hamilton has expressed his anger at being asked to allow teammate Nico Rosberg to pass him during the Hungarian Grand Prix.

With the Briton starting from the pitlane as a result of having to use a new chassis following a fuel leak fire in the opening stages of Saturday's qualifying session, and teammate Rosberg starting from pole, both drivers were on different strategies. The situation was further complicated by the weather conditions which in turn led to two Safety Car periods.

With Rosberg's strategy demanding one pit stop more than his teammate, as the German closed in Hamilton was told not to hold him up. The same instruction was given shortly after as the two continued to lap a second or so apart.

"I'll let him through if he gets closer, I'm not slowing down for Nico, get close and then he can overtake me," said Hamilton.

Shortly after, Rosberg asked: "Why is he not letting me through?" to which he was told "He's had the message."

Fact is, despite being on the softer, quicker rubber, Rosberg was never really close enough to allow Hamilton to simply let him through without slowing and losing time, thereby compromising his own race. Eventually the German pitted and, ironically, the two were left to battle for third on the final lap of the race, the mood hardly helped when the Briton, using all the track, and then some, forced Rosberg wide in his efforts to hold on to third.

It was a remarkable drive by Hamilton, probably one of the finest of his illustrious career. However, post-race he was in no mood for plaudits, instead he openly criticised his team for ordering him to move aside for his teammate.

"Obviously I am aware that I was in the same race as him, just because he had one more stop than me doesn't mean I am not in same race," said Hamilton after the race. "If I let him pass, then he could pull away and come back at me later.

"I was very, very shocked that the team would ask me to do that," he added. "He didn't get close enough to overtake, I was not going to lift off and lose ground to Fernando or Daniel, so it was a bit strange."

"I would have lost points to Nico if I had let him past when they asked me, he would have beaten me," he said in a subsequent interview with Sky Sports F1. "So I'm not quite sure what the situation was there. I don't want to comment, I'll go and speak to everyone and give them the benefit of the doubt, I'm sure it was for the right reasons perhaps

"Ultimately I would have lost points so it definitely feels strange for me, but I'm grateful I made the right decision for myself," he added. "At the end of the day, I was racing for myself, I wasn't racing for him."

Whilst Rosberg took the diplomatic route and said the matter would be discussed with the team and not in front of the media, team boss Toto Wolff, who only 24-hours earlier had profusely apologised to Hamilton and his fans for the disaster that was qualifying, said the team will learn from what happened on Sunday.

"We will not have that situation again because we will try to learn," said the Austrian. "We cannot expect the drivers in the second half of the season to move over for their main competitor."

Wolff admitted that in terms of the team's liberal, and much appreciated, approach to team orders, the time may be coming for a re-think.

"We need to analyse how we ended up there and we need to again discuss the racing between the two," he said. "It is getting intense."

Meanwhile, three-time world champion and non-Executive Chairman of the German team, Niki Lauda fully supported Hamilton's actions.

"I feel it as a racer and I would have done exactly the same," he said. "He did nothing wrong. He was just defending his position. Nico was too far away.

"The team was under enormous stress because the race was a very difficult one, there is no question," he added. "The call was unnecessary but it was made. Lewis ignored it and finished third."

Check out our Sunday gallery, here.

Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by bigbri, 30/07/2014 14:10

"Another great race with actual overtaking! What F1 fan regardless of team allegiance cannot be happy with the racing we have enjoyed over the last two races? Hamilton for the second race in a row carved through the field like a hot knife through butter. Ricciardo again had me trying to remember the name of his teammate with a stunning drive. Rosberg's race wasn't ruined by Hamilton refusing to do an impression of Massa or Barrichello, Rosberg's race was ruined because his huge and deserved lead was negated when the first safety car came out and by a BIG mistake by the Mercedes pit wall not bringing him in at the first opportunity when the safety car came out. That compromised Rosberg's strategy and the rest was well, racing!"

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2. Posted by Rappy, 29/07/2014 14:34

"Most of you seem to support Rosberg in this. What is the argument? That Mercedes needed to assure they maximised their points for the Constructors Championship? They don't need it. They are far ahead. And what about the fact Rosberg wasn't even biting at Hamilton's tail when he expected him to move over and let him pass? Seems like many of you can't understand logic."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by John C, 29/07/2014 8:54

"You guys really are apologists for Hamilton. This was evident when he behaved like a petulant child last month and again with this article. Drivers need to remember who they are paid by. Hamitons behaviour cost Mercedes a chance at a win, Not that I'm complaining. I'm a Ricciardo fan."

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4. Posted by Paul C, 29/07/2014 5:22

"Maybe Toto should have said, "Nico is faster than you.""

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5. Posted by Spartacus, 28/07/2014 21:12

"Clearly HAM ruined ROS's strategy by holding him up on a very tight track where it is almost impossible to pass if the leading car wants to make their car very wide. That amount of time ROS lost would have allowed him to catch the leaders in the last 10 laps much quicker than he did. It may have given ROS a podium but I am not sure he would have been able to get by ALO. I guess ROS should start forcing the issue like HAM always has."

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6. Posted by bfairey, 28/07/2014 16:57

"What do you expect Rosberg is a German driver in a German car (I thought he was a Fin)"

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7. Posted by canadianjoe, 28/07/2014 16:03

"Hamilton is obviously not a team player, he has already cost McLaren a championship with his toxic attitude. Also obvious is that Mercedes is desperate to win a championship. They made poor dissensions when the pace car came out which cost Rosberg a win. If Mercedes doesn't wake up they may not win this year. 71 points under the currant point system is not much, especially the 50 points for the last race. If Mercedes has any sense they would not renew Hamilton's contract,( and Lauda as well) they don't need him, almost anyone could win in that car. Hamilton is a champion whiner among whiners. "

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8. Posted by Kkiirmki, 28/07/2014 15:24

"It's a pity this has to overshadow what was one of the best races of the season."

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9. Posted by Mechanical, 28/07/2014 15:02

"Since team orders don't exist at Mercedes I'm not sure what all the fuss is about, as to the comment made here by Xoanon, ref Malaysia 2013 ...if you were paying attention you would have realised that the oportunity for Rosberg to overtake Lewis only came about because Lewis was asked to slow down by the team...who knows, with hindsight maybe they picked up a fault on Lewis's Car which might have caused both cars to fail prior to the end of the race had both pushed too hard. "

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10. Posted by karel, 28/07/2014 14:56

"wel looking at the whole situation, it's not negative it's a deal you make and now it is one sided broken."

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11. Posted by Martin B, 28/07/2014 12:31

"I fully support Lewis - IF Nico had been closer he said he would have let him pass but he was quite a way back and in and out of DRS enable so not close enough. Nico should have done better and then it wouldn't be an issue."

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12. Posted by Spindoctor, 28/07/2014 11:25

"This just highlights where Team Orders can go wrong.
I can see no strategic (or even tactical) benefit to Mercedes by forcing Hamilton to compromise his race in favour of a team mate who was too slow to catch and overtake. Had they switched Lewis to a more competitive strategy they might, as JackTheCat points-out have had a better result.

Great result for Ricciardo after a fast and determined drive in an inferior car. Both Red Bull drivers benefitted from an excellent TEAM performance by RBR, particularly when you compare their pit-stops with those Hamilton usually has to endure."

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13. Posted by xoanon, 28/07/2014 10:25

"Remember Malaysia 2013? Nico wasn't best pleased with being ordered not to pass the slow Hamilton, but he obeyed team orders, and asked the the team to 'Remember this' ... Seems they and Lewis forgot."

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14. Posted by JackTheCat, 28/07/2014 9:56

"The real question is why they put Lewis on the medium tyre in the first place. Two stints on the soft and they would have had a 1-2."

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