Triple time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton’s heart spoke louder than his mind at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, and sportsmanship was the winner. It could eventually cost him the drivers’ championship.
Bottas received the team order from Mercedes with 25 laps remaining the race, fastest team-mate Hamilton could take the fight to the Ferrari duo of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen at a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult.
Then Hamilton, who said he would give the place back to team-mate Bottas should he fail in his chase of the Ferrari duo, remained true to his word, and pulled aside on the final corner of the final lap, following moving seven seconds clear of Bottas.
“I want to win the championship the right way and I don’t know whether that will come back to bite me on the backside or not,” he said.
“I do think today was the right way to do things.”
Asked afterwards whether he had listened to his head or his heart, he pointed to the latter.
“I think more from the heart, probably,” The Brit said.
“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, 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.
“I think, in life, you do good things and good things do come round back to you.”
“Me and Valtteri have a great amount of respect for each other,” said Hamilton.
“Just as the team asked him to do a job and he did it, the same rules apply to me.”
The position swap cost Hamilton three extra points in the drivers’ championship race against Vettel, though, leaving him 14 points behind heading into F1’s summer break.
After the race Valtteri Bottas has thanked teammate Lewis Hamilton for letting him back through on the final lap of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“In the end I was getting a little bit worried as the gap was increasing,” Bottas said. “I really struggled with the backmarkers today and I was a little bit unlucky also with those.
“Really thanks to Lewis to keep the promise and let me by in the end because I gave him the shot to try and get past the Ferraris. It’s a shame, we had good pace in the end today but with the starting positions, we couldn’t finish any better.”