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Grand gesture may prove costly for Hamilton

NEWS STORY
31/07/2017

It was a gesture that grabbed almost as many headlines as Sebastian Vettel's drive to victory, certainly in the British media.

Unable to pass Kimi Raikkonen, in the final corner of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton slowed and allowed his Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, through to take the final podium position.

Earlier in the race, on older rubber, Bottas had been asked to move aside for Hamilton as the Briton felt he had a better chance of passing Kimi Raikkonen who had been told to hold station behind Sebastian Vettel who was suffering a steering issue.

While the pace of Hamilton's Mercedes allowed him to close up to the second Ferrari, the wake from the Red car caused the Briton grip and temperature issues. Mercedes difficulties were further exacerbated by an issue which affected radio communications between the team and its drivers.

Initially given five laps in which to pass Raikkonen, due to the ongoing radio issue, not to mention the fact that Bottas was now under pressure from Max Verstappen, Hamilton was given further time in which to take on the Ferrari.

At race end, unable to get close to Raikkonen, Hamilton slowed in the final corner, allowing Bottas to re-take third while still holding off Verstappen.

Though the gesture represented all that is good in terms of sportsmanship, the team was soon under attack on social media as fans claimed the gesture could ultimately cost the Briton the title, Sebastian Vettel's win having opened the gap to 14 points.

"We said that we would swap positions back if #LH44 couldn't pass RAI," tweeted the German team amidst the backlash. "We stand by our values as a team and Lewis is a man of his word!"

Indeed, it is a sentiment that Hamilton shares.

"I want to win the championship the right way," he told reporters at race end. "Though I don't know whether that will come back to bite me on the backside or not, I do think today was the right way to do things."

Asked if he had listened to his head or his heart on that final lap, he replied: "I think more from the heart, probably. The mind is more cut-throat and every point counts and this is do-or-die. My heart tells me the right thing to do was to let Valtteri past.

"I think today really shows, hopefully, that I am a man of my word," he continued, "and also that I am a team player. I am just as much a part of this team as anyone and I think we're working together better than we ever had, so I think today shows unity. In life, you do good things and good things do come round back to you.

"Slowing down seven seconds was tough," he admitted, "and I was nervous about losing a place to Verstappen but fortunately I didn't."

The gesture, not only cost Hamilton 3 points in terms of Vettel, but also allowed his teammate to close to within 19 points, something not lost on Bottas.

"When the gap was big I knew it could be a problem but in the end it was OK," he. "Not every team-mate would give the swap back if you are running for a podium place.

"I was getting a little bit worried," he continued, "I struggled with backmarkers, but thanks to Lewis to keep the promise and let me by because I gave him the shot to get past the Ferraris. The team promised that if I let him go we would swap back if he couldn't make it, and I am thankful we swapped again."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Hungary, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by @R1Racing71, 31/07/2017 15:37

"It appears there are two issues here.
The team order itself and the subsequent compliance to the team order.

"

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2. Posted by mickl, 31/07/2017 14:29

"@FormerF1Fan. IF in exactly the same situation do you think Vettel, Alonso, Senna, Prost, Mansell, Schumacher, etc (Sir Stirling excepted) and were given that team order. Would they have done the same thing?

and also could you please just change your user name to IHATEHAM. It's tiresome."

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3. Posted by nonickname, 31/07/2017 13:07

"Remember that Botas moved over to let Hamilton pass.Given the circuit and the problems that all the front cars had when 1.5 seconds behind another car Hamilton probably would not have got past. Verstappen on newer tyres could have caused him to end up 5th."

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4. Posted by Spindoctor, 31/07/2017 11:50

"As is demonstrated by FormerF1Fan (below) Hamilton can do nothing right in some people's eyes.

It was Team Orders that made Bottas move over after Hamilton's offer to cede the place if he couldn't pass Raikkonen. He couldn't pass, so he gave the place up.

From Mercedes' perspective which driver came 3rd or 4th is immaterial, they don't (as the saying goes) have any dogs in that fight. They want to (and are likely to) win the Constructors' Championship. As long as that happens they're happy.

More serious for Mercedes is their cars' dire performance in dirty air. On circuits like Hungary they will struggle to overtake even mildly competitive opponents, let alone Ferrari."

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5. Posted by FormerF1Fan, 31/07/2017 10:46

"Grand gesture, my fat donkey. This is nothing more than simplistic, blind Hamilton hero-worship in its maximum expression mixed in with poor reporting. He was just following team orders. Nothing less, nothing more. But I do agree that I was surprised that it happened. Maybe it was because Hamilton thought twice about disobeying yet again, given the flak he took for his recent geek, oops I mean Greek shenanigans..."

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6. Posted by @R1Racing71, 31/07/2017 10:35

"Very surprised by this. Sportsmanship and fair play are not normally something I'd associate with F1, it will be interesting to see how this one plays out and what the real reason behind this is - even if there is one?

For a championship that could easily be decided on count back and perhaps even second places it seems odd to give away 3 points - Do we really think VB is a contender? (good as he is of course) I can't think for the life of me which team driver combination in the modern era would have done so either.

Perhaps following F1 for over 30 years has left me too cynical to give a balanced view, but if VB has got the seat for next season then it would make sense, but at the cost of the championship?

Oh well stranger things - but one things for sure, it's what Sterling would have done :)

"

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7. Posted by -ape-, 31/07/2017 10:25

"Didier do not pass Gilles "

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8. Posted by -ape-, 31/07/2017 10:24

"Rubens let Michael pass it is for the championship "

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9. Posted by -ape-, 31/07/2017 10:19

"Neither Alonso ... Massa knows
"

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10. Posted by -ape-, 31/07/2017 10:16

"Vettel would not do this,.....remember multi 21."

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