CON­FU­SION OVER MERC PROTEST

Ap­peal over Ver­stap­pen’s de­fend­ing dropped as Hamil­ton hits out

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Stephen Lick­o­r­ish Pho­tos: LAT

Mercedes planned to protest against Max Ver­stap­pen’s overly de­fen­sive driv­ing in the Ja­panese Grand Prix, but later changed its mind with Lewis Hamil­ton telling the team “it is not what we do”.

In a bizarre 90-minute pe­riod af­ter the race con­cluded, Mercedes ini­tially an­nounced they would protest the re­sult be­cause of the way Red Bull racer Ver­stap­pen ap­peared to move in the brak­ing zone for the fi­nal chi­cane when de­fend­ing sec­ond place from Hamil­ton.

It then emerged that with both Hamil­ton and Ver­stap­pen hav­ing al­ready left the cir­cuit, the ap­peal would not be heard un­til the United States GP in two weeks leav­ing the race re­sult pro­vi­sional.

How­ever, there was then a U-turn from the Ger­man man­u­fac­turer with Hamil­ton ap­pear­ing to play a part in the de­ci­sion.

Hamil­ton tweeted: “There is no protest from my­self. Just heard the team had but I told them it is not what we do. We are cham­pi­ons, we move on. End of !”

It had been a dif­fi­cult week­end both on and off track for Hamil­ton with the Brit be­ing con­tin­u­ally out­paced by cham­pi­onship leader Nico Ros­berg – the Ger­man ex­tended his ad­van­tage to 33 points over Hamil­ton – and he caused a stir by Snapchat­ting dur­ing the driv­ers’ press con­fer­ence on Thurs­day.

In re­sponse to crit­i­cal me­dia cov­er­age of the in­ci­dent, Hamil­ton de­cided to pull out of group me­dia brief­ings.

De­spite the in­ci­dents, team-mate Ros­berg said Hamil­ton is still fo­cused.

“I can tell you be­hind the scenes he is as fo­cused as ever, es­pe­cially af­ter a set­back like Malaysia,” he said.

“He was work­ing the long­est hours I’ve seen him work with the en­gi­neers in many, many months try­ing to find those lit­tle bits of lap time, so I’ve seen him work­ing ex­tremely well and fo­cused.”

As to whether he took any en­cour­age­ment from what may be per­ceived from the out­side as self-de­struc­tion, Ros­berg added: “I haven’t seen any self-de­struc­tion.

“The Lewis I saw was mas­sively mo­ti­vated and fo­cused, and any­way it’s about me get­ting the best out of my­self, and not fo­cus­ing on what Lewis’ state of mind is.”

Tough week­end for Hamil­ton

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.