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No issue with "gamesmanship", insists Horner

NEWS STORY
31/07/2021

While sections of the crowd might not agree, Red Bull boss, Christian Horner insists he has no issue with Lewis Hamilton's apparent gamesmanship in the final moments of Q3.

As the drivers headed out for their final runs, the world champion was ahead of the two Red Bulls. Watching in his mirrors, the Mercedes driver proceeded slowly appearing to deliberately back up the two cars behind.

He then headed off only to slow down again later in the lap and once more back up the two Red Bulls.

As the clock ticked down, Hamilton made it to the line in time to begin another flying lap, as did Verstappen, however Perez failed.

Even though he failed to improve his time Hamilton took pole, ahead of his teammate, Valtteri Bottas and Verstappen. And while both had improved their times, neither able to overhaul the Briton.

As they climbed from their cars, sections of the crowd voiced their disapproval of Hamilton's tactics and booed the Briton, continuing to jeer him during the grid interviews.

However, when the seven-time world champion said the booing merely fuelled him, it appeared to cease.

Speaking at session end, when asked about Hamilton's tactics, Christian Horner, who has been embroiled in a war of words with Mercedes ever since Silverstone, described it as a "bit of gamesmanship".

"Lewis has got a hell of a lap in the bank," he said, "and then obviously he's just backing things up, up, up, and he doesn't want to give obviously our cars a clean run.

"It's his right to do that," he added. "He's got the track position. We haven't got a major issue. It's all about tomorrow now."

Asked if his team would have adopted similar tactics, Horner replied: "I think we've have probably focused more on the preparation of our tyre, because you can see his lap time was nowhere near his best qualifying time.

"He was obviously more interested in what was going on behind. But that's part of the game."

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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 01/08/2021 11:30

""Gamesmanship" - probably, but then games\sports have multiple players whose job it is to maximise their own performance & take any advantage they can whenever they can.
@kenji says "what goes around, comes around". I'm sure all those "fans" disgusted by Mercedes'\Hamilton's "gamesmanship" will protest equally loudly when it does.....

In this instance RBR cars could have passed Hamilton & ignored the "gentleman's agreement". They also had the option of going out before the Mercedes cars thus offering them the opportunity to set the pace.

This type of thing has been going on forever but has become particularly prevalent in an era when tyres only work properly after careful preparation, and then for only 2/3rds of a lap! "

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2. Posted by jcr, 01/08/2021 9:58

"Sorry Typo error
My last comment should have read, Alonso v Hammi 2007
"

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3. Posted by Mad Matt, 01/08/2021 9:47

"Well if his out lap was 5s quicker than his Q1 one then there isn't so much to complain about. On the other hand I personally dislike this kind of thing. It's the same in football when a defender gets between the attacker and the ball to make sure the ball goes out before the attacker can touch it but also makes no attempt to touch the ball themselves....... perfectly legal just not my cup of tea."

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4. Posted by kenji, 01/08/2021 1:39

"It's blatantly obvious what Hamilton was doing but as Horner said, 'it was gamesmanship'. What goes around comes around. No biggie. As for the 'booing'? Well it's always amazed me as to how one dimensional so many people are. If it's perfectly correct to cheer then it's perfectly correct to boo. I don't have any problems with that as people should be free to express their opinions equally. These days moral indignation has been developed into a full time profession it seems. Next thing will a university degree in 'hurtful feelings'. Hamilton says that he 'feeds off all of this' so there you go."

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5. Posted by jcr, 01/08/2021 1:32

"Fernando v Hammi 2017"

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6. Posted by CL, 31/07/2021 21:44

"As that out lap (2m44) was 5s quicker than he did for the Q1 out lap (2m49), and around the same time of other drivers on the same lap, there’s not much wrong with, or special about what he did. I’ll try not to get the vapours about it."

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7. Posted by Wokingchap, 31/07/2021 20:50

"I have always been behind Lewis so almost a fan, but seeing him stooping to this level and using tactics of drivers I now detest because of it, is rather saddening. He will definately loose respect and fans if he carries on like this."

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8. Posted by intrepid, 31/07/2021 20:16

"I could not disagree more strongly with Christian Horner. If that's what constitutes English good sportsmanship, count me out. Sets a great example for young F1 fans around the world, don't it? Anything goes in order to win. Stinks to high heaven.

Were I the Chief Steward and the Rules permitted, I'd have had him starting from the pit exit from which he earlier exited with suich deliberation. Just awful."

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