Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2014

Letting Rosberg past would have cost me – Hamilton

2014 Hungarian Grand PrixPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2014Lewis Hamilton said his decision not to let his team mate past during the Hungarian Grand Prix was vindicated by the fact they finished so close together.

Hamilton crossed the finishing line half a second ahead of Nico Rosberg having earlier refused to follow an order from Mercedes to let his team mate past.

“I would have lost points to Nico,” Hamilton told reporters when asked why he kept Rosberg behind. “If I’d let him past when they asked me he would have beat me.”

“So I’m not quite sure what the situation was there but I don’t want to comment really on it – I’ll go and speak to everyone, give them the benefit of the doubt, I’m sure it was for the right reasons, perhaps.”

“But ultimately I would have lost points today so it definitely feels strange to me but I’m grateful that I took the right decision myself.”

For his part Rosberg said he was told by the team Hamilton would let him past. “It was the team that informed me that he was going to let me past, that was it,” he said.

Rosberg was later heard on the team radio asking why Hamilton hadn’t let him through. “I don’t know what happened then, we need to discuss,” Rosberg added. “Internally is better.”

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125 comments on “Letting Rosberg past would have cost me – Hamilton”

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  1. I agree with what Hamilton did, he was well within his rights to fight his team-mate, even though his team-mate would’ve been faster had he got through.

    However. I find it a shame that this will be remembered by many as Lewis standing his ground against his team and fighting off his team-mate, while the incident in Malaysia 2013 with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will still be looked at in a such a negative light in regards to Sebastian disobeying those orders.

    1. Agree with your first two lines, disagree with the rest. I don’t think this will be looked on as LH standing his ground, rather doing the sensible thing that NR would have done too, situation reversed. Malaysia 2013 was different circumstances…first race of the season, not a WDC battle, and MW had been instructed to turn his car down and was a sitting duck. Not comparable incidents.

      1. I’m not going to go into depths about the Vettel/Webber incident again, but when you’ve won two of your last three titles by a total of 7 points and there’s 7 points sitting right there in front of you, you’re going to take them.

    2. However. I find it a shame that … the incident in Malaysia 2013 with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will still be looked at in a such a negative light in regards to Sebastian disobeying those orders.

      Because it’s different:
      Webber was told that both he and Vettel needed to turn the fuel settings down. Vettel should have told the team first he wasn’t going to follow the order, giving Webber atleast a chance to do so the same.

      Hamilton straight up told the team he wasn’t going to follow the team order.

      1. Yes, it’s certainly not hypocritical of the fans supporting Hamilton’s decision on this one. “Tough luck” for Niko! ;)

    3. And Malasya Rosberg complying with the team and letting Hamilton finish in front.

      1. Because he couldn’t pass Hamilton on Track. This the part where everyone does not mention that he tried at least twice and failed before requesting the team to tell Ham to let him pass. They are here to race and if you are faster, do it yourself on track.

        1. That is nonsense. He could have passed Hamilton on track. But Ross Brawn clearly ordered him NOT to do so. Even Hamilton himself mentioned after the race that he thinks Rosberg would have been more deserving of that podium.

        2. It’s true that at least twice Hamilton managed to repass Rosberg, however thereafter in the closing laps it was clearly visible that ROS held back in the braking zones, stalking HAM while he coasted into the corner. If you get a chance to watch the onboards you will see how ridiculously slow HAM was

      2. You do know Ham re overtook Ros in Malaysia with DRS, Not comparable today, im sure NR would let Ham through today…

        1. That is why it is called racing. Hamilton did not ask the team to tell Rosberg to give the place back. He went and took it back himself. So why are you guys complaining on this.
          If he felt that he was faster then he should have taken the place back himself. We did not hear Ham crying to the team by telling them to ask Rosberg tom stay behind.

          He did is talking on track and that how it should be.

          1. *his

    4. Question, why was NR in fourth place ?

      Because of bad luck with safety car (3 times) – rear brakes not functioning at 100% (could not attack the curves) – and most of all … not that good of a driver in the rain (wet track).
      The last time I checked – TEAM ORDERS WAS ILLEGAL IN F1 !!!

      1. The team orders ban was lifted at the end of 2010:

        Team orders ban scrapped for 2011

    5. @darkenforca, I have to say, I think this incident will be looked in the same way as Vettel’s incident, last year. In fact, as every other team order’s incidents (like Massa this year too).
      For me, there is a grey area in this matter, and only the drivers are able to decide what to do in a given moment, such like the one Ham experienced this weekend. In that line, and like Vettel and Massa, Ham decided. But most important than taking a right or wrong call, is to assume the decision, which they always did. So, further considerations about the rightness of team orders, or trying to compare situations, accepting for one side, and not accepting for the other, are useless. There are no saints in the F1, only professional drivers, who are eager to win every weekend. Or so they should.

  2. He wasn’t close enough to Lewis. Had he been on his rear spoiler then that would be different but he was many car lengths behind. Same situation as Sebastian and Daniel earlier this year.

    1. I’m still baffled how this is an issue, Rosberg absolutely was NOT close enough to pass. He wasn’t even within the DRS for much of it.

      1. The issue is why Mercedes asked Lewis to let him past when he wasn’t close enough and it would compromise Lewis’ race. The order was clearly designed to have Nico finish ahead of Lewis and that is where the problem lies.

      2. I think Rosberg expected Hamilton to let him pass, as that order was apparently communicated to both of them. The question is what would have Rosberg done if they were just let to race. I would probably have pushed it for a lap or two and then, if that did not work out, I would pit (lap or two sooner that what was the case in the race) and went on for the chase, having one or two more laps at the end to get ahead of Hamilton (potentially Alonso as well). I think there was an opportunity lost here for Rosberg as he lost time sitting and waiting for the order to be followed which did not happen.

        If I was Rosberg I would not blame Hamilton, but the gloves would be off, with only one rule remaining – we do not take each-other out, we bring cars home.

        1. Lewis said he would let Nico through if he was closer, but he was not going to slow down.
          As the lead driver, they should have pitted Lewis, and let him challange for the win, and let Nico build a gap to return from the pits ahead of Massa & Kimi.

        2. Rossberg already removed the gloves in Monaco. That bridge is already crossed.

      3. Lewis said it, he had to close the gap. Lewis could not afford slowing down, lose a second to let his chief championship contender through. Absolutly travesty from the team, speacially after those failure. In the end, Toto said the recent mechanical failures did weight on their decision no to ask Lewis again, I really would like to get Lauda’s opinion on that.

        1. Lauda agrees Lewis made the right decisions

  3. I agree.

    As much as I’d like to see Rosberg take this title, he really needed to pass Vergne after the second Safety Car and Hamilton at the finish.

    1. Don’t forget as Nico was suffering with his rear brakes, plus he was losing so much time in the middle sector he couldn’t keep up with nobody along the start/finish line, it was almost impossible for him to overtake today.

  4. I think it’s all good. I understood NR questioning LH not letting him by due to the different strategies, and I also understood LH not feeling he should have to actually slow to do it. I’d like to think that LH would have ceded to NR’s different strategy if NR was all over him, but he wasn’t.

  5. Ridiculous order from Mercedes. At first it seemed they were just telling him not to fight for position, fair enough, but the repeated requests to let Rosberg past – when he was between .8 and 1.3 behind at some points! – were absurd, he’d have to lose two seconds to Alonso to slow down enough for Rosberg to get by, compromising his race and ensuring Rosberg gained more points on him in a supposedly fair championship race. And that order coming after Mercedes set fire to his car in qualifying? No wonder he was unhappy.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, I have no doubt Lewes would have let him by if he was very close but to give the order when there was a 1 second gap ?? mind blowing !

    2. Oh please…the ‘repeated requests’ were hardly numerous nor heated as the team would have quickly seen that in fact NR was not all over LH as they likely would have expected was going to be the case. If NR had more pace and the reality to the team and LH been that NR was way faster, LH would have ceded or had to defend and block and look totally greedy and selfish. Had NR the pace and LH ceded to the different strategies the cost to LH would have been minimal done properly.

      But then I guess given that Mercedes ‘set fire’ to LH’s car, it’s a wonder they didn’t just order NR to ram LH off the track, right?

      1. So what’s your issue with my comment? Yes Mercedes didn’t insist, they simply told him to let Rosberg past on the straight, which he refused to do (echoes of Raikkonen and Massa in 2008 when Kimi almost parked the car to let Massa trundle past, but they weren’t in a championship battle). The radio messages clearly had a negative effect on the morale of Hamilton, though – witness his emotional state on the podium. I guess Mercedes know what they’re doing.

        1. how can we know if mercedes didn’t insist? we can only have a little bit of what’s going on on their radios…

      2. To quote Hamilton:

        Obviously I am aware that I was in the same race as him, just because he had one more stop than me doesn’t mean I am not in same race. If I let him past then he could pull away and come back at me later. I was very, very shocked that the team would ask me to do that.

        My view on this is that Rosberg really wanted to get a big advantage over Hamilton going into the break, to use that as leverage for persuading Mercedes to make him number one driver (priority for the championship) within a few races when they get back. And that tells you a lot about Rosberg’s real confidence about beating Hamilton on fair terms.

    3. Most ridiculous team order ever, for Nico to even complain was ridiculous, he should be embarrassed with himself.

      1. Disagree. It was just a strategy thing, but it simply didn’t evolve as they thought in that NR didn’t gain way more pace than LH at that point, like they thought he would be doing on the different tires. They always knew NR was going to pit again, so this is by far not the first time we have seen this type of order be given, based strictly on what the strategy should have done on paper. It’s not like NR was vehement, nor the team, because NR simply did not have the big gain on pace that they thought he would, and LH was able to hold his own on the harder compound at that particular time.

        1. @ robbie, if Ham lets Nico through Ros finishes ahead of him, i no you’re not saying he should have let him through but that order was not fair so it is no wonder people moan. Ham came out ahead after 2nd stop 3 seconds ahead and they both had slow stops, so if Ham is on softs would been same strategy

        2. Nico looking like he had been crying in the post race interviews says a lot. In my opinion he expected the team to order Lewis to let him by so he could finish ahead of him and increase his championship lead. When that didn’t happen he was upset and his emotions got the best of him. You don’t get that upset for nothing. Clearly Nico has expectations which were not met.

        3. @robbie there’s a championship battle and Lewis finished just ahead of Nico, so in the end his call was the best for him. The team at that point did not have to tell Lewis let Nico past so his team mate, who leads the standings, would have a shot at winning the race and widen the gap…

          1. @jcost I’m sure the goal was for a Merc 1-2 if at all possible, but as thngs unfolded it wasn’t to be. Telling LH to let NR go was I’m sure not intended to mean let NR go so he can go into the break even more ahead in points, but rather they thought at the time the best way to get both cars as high up the grid as possible. If in fact at the time of the order NR was way faster than LH due to the different strategies, would it have made sense to order NR to hang back anyway?

      2. The trouble is that Rosberg was probably under the impression that he was going to finish behind Hamilton anyway, so he felt that his team mate was just backing him up for the sake of it. Why he thought Hamilton would pull over to allow him through when he was often over a second behind was madness though.

  6. According to Ted from Sky Sports F1,Hamilton costed Rosberg 2nd place.BTW I was against the team orders from Mercedes.Hamilton needed to finish ahead from Rosberg going into the summer break.But you have to remember Malaisya 2013 where Rosberg was clearly faster than Hamilton and the team didn’t permit Rosberg to pass him…But that’s racing.

    1. But Merc cost Hamilton at least 2nd place by putting him onto the medium tyres in the first place. He came out of the pits ahead of Rosberg, and would have opened up the gap had he been on the mediums instead.

      1. softs instead*

      2. Exactly people forget that, they both had same slow stop yet Ham came out 3 seconds ahead. So Ham does soft soft he finishes ahaead. How do people forget that

        1. I think they thought it was going to rain and if it did and everyone stopped for inters, Hamilton would have been in a good position to win. At least that’s how I would explain it if I was on the pit wall.

          1. First they didn’t think it was going to rain. Second if they did, the best strategy was the one they gave Nico on softs

          2. I think they just thought the tyres would hold up (hadn’t the Williams proved that wasn’t the case already by that point?) until the end and that they would be faster with slower tyres but just the one stop.

      3. Its a good point, but at the time I think doing 1 stint on the harder tyre looked better than two on the soft. Its always easier to say what was the best strategy after the race.

        1. If LH didn’t have the harder tire on for his last stint he would have had to pit again and would definitely have finished lower and behind NR, no?

          1. Not really. It should have been soft soft.

          2. @robbie

            No because he came out I front of Nico. He would have pulled away from him with both drivers needing to stop again.

          3. No, Robbie Ham came out ahead so he does same as Ros he as 3 seconds to play with on same tyre. The one time both were on same tyres Ham was faster.

      4. +1.

        Fernando made 31 laps on softs.

    2. The argument that Hamilton cost Rosberg first/second is ridiculous. If that was the strategy that they were confident in giving Rosberg the win had it not been for Hamilton holding him up, why didn’t Mercedes have Hamilton on the same strategy and go for the 1-2..

      Rosberg’s 5 second pit stop, coming out behind traffic + Hamilton quickly overtaking Vergne then going onto set a fastest lap would have given Hamilton the lead over Rosberg on the same strategy for the rest of the race.

      1. Ryan (@ryanisjones)
        27th July 2014, 20:12

        Exactly this! From the point Hamilton got past Vergne he had technically overtaken Rosberg. He was in clean air vs Rosberg in traffic, and had pulled out extra laps on his tyres.

        From this point Mercedes should have given him the quickest strategy to the end which was SOFT SOFT. Why they elected to try get him to the end on mediums is baffling. Especially when it had been mentioned that there was not much difference in degradation.

        The only reason Rosberg was able to catch Hamilton at all, was because of Mercedes poor strategy choice. SOFT SOFT would have got Hamilton second, and Rosberg may have had better luck vs Alonso.

    3. @mariosf1 – Hamilton probably did cost Rosberg 2nd place. If he’d let him past, Rosberg would have had a better finish at least. Thing is…. letting Rosberg past would have cost Hamilton 3rd place!

      He have to be crazy to give up points in order to improve his main WDC rival’s points total!

      1. If Mercedes really wanted the 1st or 2nd place, they should have put Lewis on the same strategy as Nico and Lewis would have passed Alonso … problem solved

      2. Exactly @petebaldwin. I guess the team did discuss a situation where a 3 stopping Rosberg would come up behind a 2 stopping Hamilton (because going long makes sense from where Lewis came) and had agreed to let the other car past. But obviously they would have been thinking about Rosberg defending the lead of the race and Hamilton fighting to get into the top 5 then, not both of them being in the running for places 1-5 at that time.

        So its understandable that Rosberg asked this be applied to make his strategy work for him, and the team did request Hamilton do do his bit. But Hamilton clearly realised that the situation was not quite what it would have looked like pre-race and they were in a direct fight there, and wisely decided to just go on and race.

  7. I completely agree with Hamilton’s decision. If only because Nico was too far back.

    But: From what Ted said, had Nico been let past, they would have finished 2nd/4th, giving them more cumulative points than their 3rd/4th.
    But, since Mercedes are so far ahead in the championship, I don’t think they’ll care about those small lost points.

    1. They could have just stopped Rosberg sooner. Or … they could have stopped both Hamilton and Rosberg and perhaps gotten a 1-2.

    2. Exactly, but we have to keep in mind that this team is total broke.Both drivers seems that only thing that matters to them is the hatred against each other.Let’s talk a little hypothetically, shall we?What if RB or Ferrari or anybody else catch up with Mercedes next year?That would be a serious menace to Mercedes, so it’d be better if they were a little preventive.

    3. Ted’s analysis makes a lot of assumptions. Yes Nico was doing 27s when he was catching up to Lewis but soft tyres do degrade and given that he stopped about 10 laps before Hamilton he wasn’t going to be able to keep the pace 27s for 10 laps, as Ted suggested. Part of the reason that Nico was 1s behind was that his tyres began to degrade not because Ham was there. so I suspect that if Ham had let him through Ham would have come back right behind Nico at some point.

    4. Ted forgets to mention that a strategy strategy for Lewis as for Nico would have got the team 2nd and probably 3rd

      1. strategy strategy = similar strategy

      2. Exactly, I didn’t understand it either. Nico didn’t even overtake anyone, except for Kimi and Massa who were on old tyres. He let JEV and Alonso overtake him, had he defended those positions he would have won. As for Hamilton, I just read somewhere that he said that had he let Nico through Nico would have pulled away and then had a chance to come back at him later on and overtake him. That strategy would have been biased against Lewis as the team would have known that it would cost Lewis the place later on, and they say Lewis wasn’t a thinking driver huh. . .

  8. Great call Lewis. Great, GREAT, call!

    Rosberg was even slower than him at that point in the race. In the last 4 laps before pitting, he was up on Lewis in just 1 of them. There was no reason behind that move. None at all. Specially given the circumstances and specially knowing (because they were discussing it) that the tyre wear was critical and Lewis and team didn’t really know if he was going to be able to hold on those soft tyres till the end of the race.

    And then Mercedes go on twitter saying: “anyone feeling tense?” What are you expecting if you’re making such a decision…?

    And Nico. I defended you during the year, but today… god, what you said post-race, “I didn’t ask them, they told me”. You were shouting like mad because Lewis didn’t let you through ! won no hearts today….

    1. @fer-no65 I am not sure but I think I first heard Merc asking Ham to move over because Ros was in a different strategy. And only then did Ros keep asking why wasn’t he doing so.

      He did ask after a few laps behind Ros but maybe only after his team told him that Ham would be moving over for him. The radio transcript post will clear all doubts.

      1. *a few laps behind Ham

    2. “Shouting like mad”? Really? Drama queen.

  9. Yes. But at that point of time, team wouldn’t know that Hamilton could be on podium only if he doesn’t let Rosberg through!

  10. I think if the situation was different, and Rosberg was the clear 100% favourite to win the title over Lewis, then I’d have said he should have let him passed. This is different though, both fighting for the championship, it would have been ridiculous to let him passed.

  11. I can’t believe they asked Lewis to let him through..
    It turned out to be a good decision to not obey team orders.

  12. Frankly, Hamilton did the right thing. Regardless of team politics, Rosberg was close, but didn’t manage to overtake Hamilton on pace. It’s not as if Hamilton defended that hard from Nico nor that Nico displayed race pace that much better than Hamilton’s.

    Mercedes need to take a stand on team orders, though. You can’t keep going on about a fair fight, ask one driver to move over, then have your figurehead telling the media it’s wrong and the drivers they were shocked by how it went. Either give team orders and stand by them, or don’t give them. I don’t think the team was wrong per se to ask Hamilton to let Rosberg pass, but I do wonder if they had considered what might have happened to Hamilton (and ultimately Rosberg as well).

    1. The first call to Lewes was right – “don’t make it difficult for him to pass” ie if he gets right up behind you or even along side then let him go.
      The second call though “let Nico pass on the straight” when there was a 1 second gap was a joke !

  13. Rosberg wasn’t close enough or quick enough to justify the switch of positons, and it wasn;t like the track was clear in front of Hamilton either. Had Hamilton Let him through he would have lost 2 seconds, and Rosberg would only had a couple of seconds of clear air before getting stuck behind Alonso. Poor call by Mercedes, and also a poor call putting Hamilton onto the medium tyres in the first place.

  14. Nico lost the position and probably the race when he was stuck behind Vergne. He compounded that by losing his position stuck behind a Williams (because Hamilton got by Vergne in the meantime). The “internal” discussion should involve one person and a mirror. People like to talk about the psychological momentum. In this vein Rosberg needs to think about the fact, starting from pole, that he was relying on being let past by a guy who started from the pit lane to get on the podium. He lost a few places in a SC scrum, but he had plenty of car to get back to the front in half a race from there. And none of those places he lost in the SC period was to Hamilton.

    1. Very well put.

    2. Agreed. Well said.

    3. Couldn’t have said it better…

    4. Nico had brake problems AFAIK, that’s why he disappeared in the middle of the race. And it’s not like Hamilton actually passed a lot of people on the track either. Has there ever been a driver who gained so many positions while doing so few passes as Hamilton did this race?

  15. Hamilton was right in disobeying the team-orders, no driver who thinks of himself as a title-contender (or even a podium-contender) should ever listen to that. Rosberg was right in aksing for team-orders, as every driver should try everything possible that may earn him a point or more. Merc was wrong in handing out team-orders. Yet, nothing of that was any special, most drivers on the grid would have acted the same given the respective situations, and several teams (Williams, Ferrari, Red Bull only to name the obvious) already did that very same mistake within this year, some even twice.

  16. One really has to question what’s going on at Mercedes. 2 failures due to either bad components or failed installation (assuming the failures were too early in the session to have been from something the driver did), then an order to Hamilton to let Rosberg by knowing full well that after the last pit stop, Rosberg would be significantly faster. Lewis needs to use the break to really sort things out with the team.

  17. Merc were struggling all day in DRS today, yet race was also gone for NR against Vergne he was close to do it. Ham does soft soft like Nico they finish same position so what the fuss. Ham had pace over Ros on the time we could really compare after saftey car when both on same tyres. And Ham had winglet missing, Ham had luck their for sure.

  18. Ridiculous to ask him to cede position when ROS wasn’t even within range. Well done HAM for standing his ground. 3 points gained today would have been at least 3 lost.

  19. Mercedes makes the wrong call by putting Hamilton on mediums then asks Hamilton to give up position claiming that he could make it to the end ahead of Hamilton. Hamilton, even with his mind on his driving knew that the mediums would fall off but the team sitting in more comfortable chairs couldn’t.

    Rosberg then compounds that by asking to pass while he’s over a second behind. Ridiculous. All he had to do was pull an overtaking move on Hamilton.

  20. I would be a huge Hamilton fan if it wasn’t for the fact that he has such a high opinion of himself and his importance. Right from the early days in F1 when he compared himself to Senna he has been like this.

    Sure, he has god-given talent. One of the best racers of all time, even. But a smidgen of humility would make him a much better person.

    He wouldn’t be where he is today without a massive team behind him. But he can’t expect their 100% commitment if he doesn’t follow team orders.

    1. I hear you but he’s also lost at least 1 WDC due to terrible team decisions. Whenever he’s asked to do something daft by the team I’m sure memories of China 2007 ring pretty loudly in his head.

    2. The team order was stupid considering that they put him on mediums to start with.

      It made no sense to slow down for someone who was over a second slower at some points.

    3. Has he actually compared himself to Senna? I’d like to see this.
      All ive ever heard is that Senna was his idol, theres a big difference.

    4. Not sure the team was behing him 100% in qualifying Germany and Hungary … guy loses nothing.

      1. behing=behind

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