Horner backs Hamil­ton in row

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

RED BULL chief Chris­tian Horner has ac­cused Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff of naivety for at­tempt­ing to con­trol the out­come of Sun­day’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and with it the driv­ers’ world cham­pi­onship.

He said it was al­ways ob­vi­ous that out­go­ing cham­pion Lewis Hamil­ton would have to “back up” Nico Ros­berg in a last ditch bid to foil the Ger­man’s ti­tle bid.

Horner said he “would not have ex­pected him to any­thing dif­fer­ent”.

“With where they were at, it was just down to those two guys,” Horner said. “So it was only ever go­ing to be that kind of bat­tle be­tween the two of them.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions to Nico... He has driven a great sea­son this year. He is a very wor­thy world cham­pion, but it was naive to think that there would be any dif­fer­ent ap­proach to this race with what is at stake.”

Asked how he felt the race was han­dled by Mercedes, he added: “We know that Toto likes to con­trol most things in the pad­dock in­clud­ing other teams’ driv­ers... so you could not ex­pect any dif­fer­ent.

“They are rac­ing for a world cham­pi­onship, the driv­ers’ world cham­pi­onship. There are only two guys in it and they are both in the same car...

“For Lewis, win­ning the race was never go­ing to be enough for him and he drove a tac­ti­cal race. He didn’t do any­thing dirty.

“It was ob­vi­ous that com­ing into the week­end that this was his only chance of achiev­ing the re­sult he wanted. It would be un­fair to crit­i­cise him.”

Hamil­ton’s games­man­ship was ques­tioned by his em­ploy­ees af­ter he twice re­jected team in­struc­tions to speed up as Ros­berg came un­der threat from Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel.

Wolff said: “It’s very sim­ple: anar­chy does not work in any team and in any com­pany. A prece­dent has been set.

“Un­der­min­ing a struc­ture in pub­lic means you are putting your­self be­fore the team.” – AFP

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