2014 F1

Mercedes facing another team order controversy

article-0-200A220300000578-587_634x459 (1)Lewis Hamiton defended his decision not to move over when his team told him to to make way for the championship leader, Nico Rosberg, in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

On lap 51 of the race that was won by Daniel Ricciardo, with Hamilton finishing third, Mercedes said: “Let Nico pass on this lap.” Hamilton replied: “I’m not slowing down; he has to get closer.”

Nothing happened and Rosberg complained that Hamilton was not letting him pass. His team replied: “He’s had the message, Nico.”

Hamilton was asked if he could not have let Rosberg past because he would have lost time to Fernando Alonso, who finished second, and Ricciardo.

“Also I would have lost points to Nico,” Hamilton said. “If I’d let him past when they asked me he would’ve beaten me so I’m not quite sure what the situation was there but I don’t want to comment on it, I’ll go and speak to everyone and give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure it was done for the right reasons perhaps but ultimately I would have lost points today, so it definitely feels strange to me but I’m grateful that I took the right decision for myself.”

Asked if it had cost Rosberg the win, Hamilton said: “I don’t know. It’s not really a thought in my mind. At the end of the day I was racing for myself, I wasn’t racing for him, so …”

Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ executive director, said: “We need to look at the situation and analyse it, not make a knee-jerk reaction. It’s not an easy call, you’ve got to look at all the pros and cons.”

It was put to him that because of all Hamilton’s recent bad luck they didn’t want to press it. “That probably played a role,” he said.

Rosberg said: “I was very annoyed that I couldn’t make it happen, obviously it was really difficult. Lewis made a mistake in turn one and that gave me a small chance to drive around the outside but it didn’t work out.”

Asked about the radio messages, Rosberg said: “I didn’t want [it]. It was the team that informed me that he was going to let me past and I don’t know what happened then. We need to discuss it internally. It’s better.”

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