Hamilton hoping to avoid repeat of Sochi team orders

  • 04 Jan 2019 12:22
  • comments 11
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Lewis Hamilton wants to avoid a repeat of the team orders controversy that overshadowed the Russian Grand Prix last September. Valtteri Bottas was leading the race after securing pole position the day before, but was asked to move over for teammate Hamilton.

Hamilton was fighting for the drivers' championship while Bottas was considered out of the battle. However the decision sparked huge upset in the F1 community, as Bottas was on course to secure his first win of the season after coming close earlier on in the year.

The swap granted Hamilton an extra seven points, but would go on to finish the championship 88 points clear of rival Sebastian Vettel: "By this point in the year the team were like, ‘we’re going to do everything to make sure, Lewis is now so far ahead you can’t catch him in the championship.

"So now we’ve got to start supporting him to make sure we tie up both championships’. Neither Valtteri nor I sit in the room saying we want cars reversed, we just want to go out there and earn the position and race for it. Ultimately Valtteri was quicker that weekend and deserved to win.

“But it was really awkward. When I got the call that Valtteri was going to let me by, I can’t remember exactly, I think I said something like ‘just tell him to speed up’. I think in the race I was quicker, in qualifying he was quicker.”

Hamilton admitted that he contemplated giving the position back before the end of the race, while Bottas also questioned if the cars would be swapped back to their original positions.

“I remember seeing him pull over and I continued by. It’s not ever the way I’ve ever wanted to win and I don’t think any driver wants to win that way. Coming across the line I’m very conflicted because if I think with my heart then I would have had it the other way but in life and in competition you’ve got to seize the moment, you’ve got to take it as it comes and you’ve got to seize it when you have the opportunity.

"If you put your feelings first you might not come out where you planned, if that makes sense. The team had taken the decision and even though I really wanted, the whole rest of that race, you just let him back by, I took the decision to stick with what the team had chosen to do.

“It was the right decision to make but ultimately in the end we didn’t need to have that day. But I think it was an important day in the sense of how we come together. It was a hard day for Valtteri but I think he was fully respectful and a real, great team player.

"He’s been an incredible teammate. It’s not easy being my teammate but it’s also not easy being his teammate because he’s very, very fast, he’s very quick and he’s continuing to get faster and faster. I’ve been here six years, this was only his second year, and he really keeps me on my toes. I really hope that there’s never a scenario like this again. ”

Replies (11)

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  • boudy

    Posts: 1,068

    Interesting that hear that he refers to decision as an team one, was it? Surely it was Toto that made the call. Either way you could not have stayed behind him. It was only the right decision because it favoured you not your team mate. I would love for Bottas to tell them in no uncertain terms that he would not do this again. However I think that Hamilton gives him too much credit in order to make sure that he doesn't get displaced by an more capable driver (why did Mercedes not sign Ricciardo?)

    In one thing I agree with Hamilton that is that he doesn't want the scenario to happen again and that means for me that multiple drivers will be able to push for race wins and a possible WC. Not these manufactured wins were the wrong person sneaks away with the win.

    • + 0
    • Jan 4 2019 - 13:24
    • Well it was a team order, Toto is the team. His will is the team's will. I am however not very sure how honest Hammy is when he says he wouldnt want it to happen again. Switch Bottas to a more competitive fella that dont accept team orders, and Im sure it would be Ros vs Hammy all over again.

      • + 2
      • Jan 4 2019 - 17:52
    • @Calle

      Maybe you're right and Hamilton loves team orders and has used them extensively as you often imply. But is there any evidence for it? At least publicly he's always been all about competition, bringing in fast teammates. I don't remember him asking for team orders when he's had a fast teammate. Listen, I understand why people don't like Lewis' personality. I despise it. But I think I can separate that from his performances on track.There are many fast drivers who clearly favoured team orders (Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel, Prost) but I really don't think Lewis is one of them.

      • + 0
      • Jan 4 2019 - 20:22
    • Well, its easy: drivers like to win. Some likes it easy, some dont. Remember when Hammy had competitive team mates? Remember the way he talked about them? Remember the way he handled Ros vs Hammy? Im not saying he is a fan of team orders, but I am saying he is a fan of easy wins and non-competitive team mates.

      • + 1
      • Jan 4 2019 - 21:10
    • Fair enough. My counter would be that that’s more of a driver thing than a Lewis thing. At least a WDC driver. Not because they like easy wins or uncompetitive teammates, but because it makes winning more likely and winning is absolutely intoxicating. But hey, maybe Lewis has changed. If it were 2012 I would say you were dead wrong. After dominating at Mercedes for so long, I can be open minded.

      • + 0
      • Jan 5 2019 - 08:48
    • I would've kinda agreed that LH pre Mercedes didnt mind a competitive partner, but remember he was a pretty fresh driver back then. He more or less had no say in it then, and at least with Alonso he had a pretty sour relationship even during that era. I agree that wanting a recessive partner is a typical diva trait, but bear in mind the shitflinging a la Marko he did both with Rosie and Alo. I fully expect things to get saline should Bottas git gud.

      • + 1
      • Jan 5 2019 - 09:15
    • And I hope things get saline. Whenever Lewis had a competitive teammate it was a great year to watch F1. Lots of drama. Drivers actually pushing the limits. Etc

      • + 0
      • Jan 5 2019 - 15:44
    • Oh I definitely want some salt on my Mercedes, please! The thing that arguably was most enjoyable about F1 2014-2016 was Rosie vs Hammy. Not the media bickering, I can certainly enjoy that, but the on-track actions. We need in-team battles. Im hoping we'll see that in all 3 bigger teams for next year.

      • + 1
      • Jan 5 2019 - 20:05
  • Quite frankly Bottas needs to either grow a backbone and tell the team to get stuffed, or simply leave and join a midfield team. He is losing a lot of respect by being Hamiltons b***h all the time.

    • + 1
    • Jan 4 2019 - 19:21
    • blade

      Posts: 341

      I agree he needs to grow a pair - leaving the team will only com pun d the image issue you rightly say he now has - running away is not a good trait (I think someone else did that in 2018, right?). No - 2019 is so important for Bottas, forget the press and fans like us - for him to sleep at night, being nobody's fool, a racer thru and thru - he needs to toughen up and frankly create some incidents to get his way - show he has what it takes to be at the top table - I think OCON did that in Force India - Bottas know's what he has to do.

      • + 1
      • Jan 5 2019 - 09:28
  • sadosalo

    Posts: 198

    Hamilton cant handle the heat, if Woff allows it and Bottas turns it on. And yes its sad but Bottas looses the respect from the fans, its about time he put out his elbows. Problem being that Hamilton narcissistic character can't handle a competitive teammate, he showed in the passed its me or hell. For sure i hope for Ferrari with Mario Binotto to perform as expected from the fans and keep, heads down in 2019.

    • + 0
    • Jan 7 2019 - 16:43

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