Hamil­ton’s de­ci­sion to defy team orders up­sets man­age­ment

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Lewis Hamil­ton may have driven him­self into trou­ble with his Mercedes team af­ter de­fy­ing di­rect orders near the end of Sun­day’s grip­ping Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where the Bri­tish driver lost his ti­tle to team­mate Nico Ros­berg in a nerve-shred­ding fi­nale.

Hamil­ton won the race but needed Ros­berg to fin­ish out­side of the top three in or­der to re­tain his ti­tle.

In or­der to fur­ther this bid, he used a tech­nique known as back­ing up. It was de­signed to slow Ros­berg down and al­low pur­su­ing driv­ers Se­bas­tian Vet­tel of Fer­rari and Dutch teen Max Ver­stap­pen of Red Bull to catch up.

Had they both over­taken Ros­berg, then Hamil­ton’s win would have been enough for the ti­tle. Vet­tel and Ver­stap­pen were right on Ros­berg’s tail in the clos­ing stages as Hamil­ton refused to ac­cel­er­ate - even af­ter Mercedes asked him twice.

First of all, Hamil­ton ig­nored a race en­gi­neer’s re­quest for him to speed up and then even re­buffed ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Paddy Lowe’s ex­plicit or­der to speed up.

“I’m in the lead right now,” he re­sponded to Lowe. “I’m quite com­fort­able where I am.”

Wolff de­scribed Loew’s in­ter­ven­tion as “the high­est es­ca­la­tion (pro­ce­dure) we have.”

And he ap­peared to is­sue a warn­ing.

“An­ar­chy doesn’t work in any team or any company,” he said. “Un­der­min­ing a struc­ture in pub­lic means you’re putting your­self be­fore the team.”

Asked if Hamil­ton could face pun­ish­ment, Wolff said: “I need to form an opin­ion, which I haven’t yet” and “ev­ery­thing’s pos­si­ble.” Ros­berg’s view was diplo­matic. “You can un­der­stand the team’s per­spec­tive and you can un­der­stand Lewis’ per­spec­tive,” the Ger­man driver said. “So that’s it.”

Mercedes wanted Hamil­ton to speed up be­cause it was con­cerned that Vet­tel was gain­ing ground and could have won the race.

Hamil­ton was to­tally un­apolo­getic over the in­ci­dent in the pos­trace news con­fer­ence.

In­stead, he openly com­plained about what he con­sid­ered to be overly zeal­ous in­ter­fer­ence.

“I don’t know why they just didn’t let us race. There was never a mo­ment where I thought I was go­ing to lose the race,” Hamil­ton said. “It’s a bit of a shame they wouldn’t (just let us race). It’s clear (what) their thought process (is).” Hamil­ton wasn’t fin­ished. “We had al­ready won the con­struc­tors’ cham­pi­onship, so it was down to me and Nico to­day. How­ever, they still felt that they needed to make com­ments,” Hamil­ton said. “I’m in a po­si­tion where I’ve had a lot of points lost in the sea­son, so for me I’m out there fight­ing.”

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