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Hamilton considered giving position back to Bottas

  • Published on 01 Oct 2018 12:22
  • comments 28
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Lewis Hamilton says that he thought about handing first place back to Bottas towards the end of the race on Sunday. Mercedes intervened during the Russian Grand Prix, implementing team orders to ensure that Hamilton would win to boost his championship hopes.

Hamilton took the position off Bottas on lap 26, and went on to win the race. Bottas questioned whether he would be able to have the position back over the team radio, which was denied. However, Hamilton says that he did consider moving aside and letting the Finn back through.

"It crossed my mind and I was really thinking about it,” he said. “In the last 12 laps I was thinking ‘this feels so weird being in the lead’ and it just didn’t feel great. Budapest from last year was replying in my mind but I remember the team also saying the result we need this weekend.

"We need those 10 points, because if the car breaks down, or we lose two engines and we lose the championship by one or three points we would look back to this day and say we didn’t work as a team – which we are. That was their reasoning, as hard as it is to swallow.”

Hamilton said that he was not feeling spectacular after the race, and labelled the day as one of the strangest of his career: “It’s honestly the strangest day I can remember having in the sport, in my career to be honest,” Hamilton reported.

“It’s very odd to feel down but you also have to feel grateful for all the guys working back in the factory to make a 1-2 like this possible. We have to embrace this. It’s definitely a win on my list of wins that I’m least proud of.

“There are stronger heads in the team who are like ‘we have to win’. It’s about winning both championships and they don’t care how, it doesn’t matter who is ahead. Ultimately it’s really important to acknowledge Valtteri. He was just the ultimate gentleman.

"As racing drivers we exist to win, and if we don’t, it’s like you’ve taken our air away, taken our life away - it’s that deep. I would never wish it upon someone else and I would never ask for it from someone else ever. I made sure when we were in the meeting before with Toto and the guys I was like ‘this is not how I want to win’. But today he was an incredible gentleman and the team took the decision.”

Replies (28)

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  • f1dave

    Posts: 782

    I don't believe him.

    • + 1
    • Oct 1 2018 - 14:33
  • I don't either, he just said that to counter any negative publicity which would not be fair anyway given Hamilton is fastest most of the time and obviously has to protect the Championship lead.

    • + 1
    • Oct 1 2018 - 14:37
  • denis1304

    Posts: 284

    he could still let him pass once in last 2-3 races if hi wins world title before

    • + 0
    • Oct 1 2018 - 14:50
    • I doubt giving him a hollow victory is what Bottas wants.. he deserved the win yesterday, not a "gift" once the title is finished.

      • + 0
      • Oct 1 2018 - 15:09
  • But you didnt, and thats what counts. I considered not grabbing a snack during my lunch, yet here I am, and I still ingested those extra calories.

    • + 3
    • Oct 1 2018 - 14:59
    • Exactly.

      • + 0
      • Oct 1 2018 - 15:31
    • It would have been stupid not to use team orders when one driver is in the fight and the other one isn't. This is not like Ferrari using team orders in the 6th race of the year after winning 4/5 races in total in absolutely dominant fashion in 2002. No, this is different and everyone knows that. But I think F1 fans are addicted to outrage.

      • + 1
      • Oct 1 2018 - 16:14
    • Nevertheless, it renders the win hollow.

      • + 1
      • Oct 1 2018 - 16:19
    • And IMO this is the same. I respect your stance on it, but to me they are equally poor.

      • + 0
      • Oct 1 2018 - 16:21
    • It does render the win Hollow, no doubt. But context matters. Denying a win to someone who can still fight for the championship, versus optimizing outcome for the team? Come on. You can see how that's different.
      It's unsavory and if it were up to me I'd ban team orders again. But I don't fault Mercedes for doing what was best for the team in a situation when Bottas can't be WDC.

      • + 0
      • Oct 1 2018 - 17:55
    • Thats fair, I see your points. However, you forget that Bottas has his own, and much more narrow, fight against Kimi: only 3 points differ between the two, and Merc' has shown that they were very willing to throw Bottas under the bus just to extend Hammy's already decent lead. Nevermind if even Vettel were to overtake Bottas, as long as Hammy wins, its fine by them. And I might be an extremist or purist in this regard, but to me these kind of team orders are the same if its for the lead. Its one thing if its for an overtake, but if one driver were faster during quali and lead most of the race, come on, give it to him. He deserved it, especially after Baku, and after serving as Hammy's c**kblocker for most of the season. And Mercedes need it if they want to be able to beat both Vettel and Kimi with both drivers. I would however not always ban team orders, some can actually be somewhat beneficial to the team aspect of the sport, however I think they should be more strictly regulated, and I sorta dont think a leader should have to surrender their lead. That aspect could IMO be banned, and it would greatly improve the show.

      • + 1
      • Oct 1 2018 - 18:40
    • Fair discussion points, although I don't agree with the premise that Bottas has been Hammy's c***blocker (lol). Hamilton has dominated Bottas this year. Bottas has clearly helped on two ocassions (to my recollection). Yes, I understand the annoyance as a purist wanting to see proper racing. But I'd point you first to Raikkonen and Vettel. I don't understand where your outrage is there. Raikkonen has not only been given garbage strategies to helped Sebastián consistently throughout the year, the worst offense is that it hasn't been very effective. That is, Raikkonen has rarely been a useful pawn. To summarize, I don't dispute the outrage at the outcome of races being somewhat manipulated by teams, but where is your outrage on the greatest offender in this regard?

      • + 0
      • Oct 1 2018 - 20:32
    • Oh dont get me wrong, Im not mad at Merc' alone because of what they DID(!) to Bottas, I grade them equally poor, its just that this has happened more to Bottas this year (and he is a better c***blocker compared to Räikkönen, so its happened more often to him this season. Im not exactly outraged or fuming because of what they DID(!) to Bottas, just a tad... Well I couldnt be more disappointed in Merc' as of present, but well it was a poor display. I really dont like any of the whole first driver diva nonsense. Which is why I was very specific with why I grade Hammy vs Bottas as shit as Vettel vs Webber, Schumi vs Barrichello, Kimi vs Vettel or Alonso, and so on. To me, the exceptions to the rule would maybe be in the midfield, where the competition is more fierce, and often the two are racing tightly anyway, thats where such team orders could belong. Up top, where the battles for wins are? Utter enough such orders, and you go straight to jail... Or a strike I guess.

      • + 0
      • Oct 1 2018 - 21:57
    • Understandable. I still think though, that Mercedes is the only top team in long time to allow both of their drivers to fight for championships. We all remember the years of Hammy fighting and whining about Rosberg. With Bottas we've seen in 2017 at least disposition to not only let them race, but to allow Bottas to win and finish ahead of Hamilton. Remember Hungary 2017? Maybe because I'm a bit of a fan, but in general I am just very appreciative of the approach Mercedes have taken most of the time in allowing their drivers to fight. Their dominance during the Rosberg years could have been as dreadful as the 2000's with Schumacher, but instead we had crashes, drama, and championships won at the last race of the year. I can see your point on everything except putting Mercedes in the same category as Red Bull managing webber and Vettel, or Ferrari with Schumacher and Barrichello

      • + 0
      • Oct 2 2018 - 03:22
  • Thought about it.. yeah for 2 tenths of a second.
    tbh it would be been a great sporting gesture for him to let Bottas past and let's be honest it wouldn't have been the first time he's ignored team orders.

    • + 0
    • Oct 1 2018 - 15:08
  • Freguz

    Posts: 160

    I can't stop thinking of the audience on the stands, tv viewers around the world, all sponsor companies paying loads of cash.... millions of dollars maybe for a single race in total... and then, all of a sudden, the leader almost comes to a complete standstill and allows the car behind to pass by!?

    Almost like a fraud.

    • + 3
    • Oct 1 2018 - 15:56
    • Exactly, it's not on. Glad I wasn't at the race as I would have been livid.

      • + 0
      • Oct 1 2018 - 16:23
  • blade

    Posts: 341

    Classic argument guys - this is a team sport not an individual sport - as such the drivers' likes and dislikes are taken account of, but they don't and shouldn't rule the day. I believe LH said exactly those words, a bloody high risk to go into print if he didn't - I would have though Bottas would already have countered if that wasn't the case too.

    No, the body language, words and actions following the race said it all - it was hard for all concerned.

    Let us not forget too - Hamilton overtook Vettall brilliantly int the race and only his respect for team orders (not taking each other out) lay behind him not pushing Bottas harder - the fact is he didn't and that says something too.

    I also agree Bottas would hardly want a race gifted to him - I wouldn't for sure, it would be embarrassing. Perhaps a better way of rewarding him would be to give the GBP1m win bonus to Bottas - I suspect this won't happen either !!!

    • + 0
    • Oct 1 2018 - 16:09
    • Its both though innit? There is a champion team and a champion driver chosen each year.

      • + 0
      • Oct 1 2018 - 16:14
    • I think Bottas doing this bought him a lot of credit with Toto and the team. He's one of the best #2 drivers ever in F1. But of course... Is that a tag any driver would want to carry?

      • + 0
      • Oct 1 2018 - 20:34
    • Seem to be enough for Kimi and Bottas... :/

      • + 0
      • Oct 1 2018 - 21:58
  • xoya

    Posts: 583

    Well what can you say. Most of us thought Ferrari screwed up by letting Raikkonen and Vettel race in Monza and Hockenheim. Now most of us think that Mercedes screwed up by letting Hamilton past Bottas.
    Crowd can never be pleased.
    As far as Mercedes is concerned they did this to be safe rather than sorry if something unexpected happens. Like a mechanical failure, driver error, crash with another driver etc.
    As far as Hamilton is concerned, I would have kept my mouth shut. This crap that he said is just embarrassing.

    • + 1
    • Oct 1 2018 - 17:40
  • siggy74

    Posts: 194

    Actions speak louder than words, Case closed.

    • + 0
    • Oct 1 2018 - 19:29
  • websurfer

    Posts: 52

    Using team orders is disgusting. Let the best man win otherwise F1 are totally rotten. Fair play, please.
    No I don't believe this one. Hamilton just said this to avoid criticism. Victory at all costs., sory to say.

    • + 0
    • Oct 1 2018 - 19:38
  • kngrthr

    Posts: 203

    you could ban team orders but it won't change anything.

    you just have a sticky tyre change or a non verbal way of communicating the order, like a light on the steering wheel.

    • + 0
    • Oct 2 2018 - 01:05
    • grahamd

      Posts: 1

      As a “teammate” who has no chance of winning the championship, why would Bottas need to be asked or told to relinquish the lead to help his teammate secure the championship?

      • + 0
      • Oct 2 2018 - 01:29
  • reg

    Posts: 162

    Bollocks he didn't, he's making this stuff up, in fact I suspect he orchestrated it, after all he runs the team and of course as we know the "Guys" are all his "fans"!

    • + 0
    • Oct 3 2018 - 01:14

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