Mercedes defend Hamilton over team orders call

2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2014Mercedes say they are satisfied with Lewis Hamilton’s driving in the Hungarian Grand Prix despite him refusing an instruction to let his team mate past.

During the second of of the race Hamilton was told not to hold Nico Rosberg up and then ordered to “let Nico past on the main start/finish straight”.

However Hamilton kept his position, saying “I’m not slowing down for Nico”.

Rosberg asked more than once why Hamilton hadn’t moved aside for him. After the race he said Hamilton’s failure to let him past was “obviously not good”.

But Mercedes now say Hamilton acted correctly because Rosberg did not get close enough to him.

“When the Safety Car came out, we chose to split the strategies, and offset ourselves to the cars ahead, in order to create opportunities to win, or worst case finish on the podium,” Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff told the team’s website.

“When we did so, Nico was running two positions in front of Lewis. We put Nico onto an aggressive three-stopper and Lewis onto a two-stop, with a long final stint on the [medium] tyre. That meant they would find each other on track at some point – and we would have a situation to manage.

“Lewis was asked to let Nico pass because we believed they both still had a chance to win the race as the strategies played out. But Nico never got close enough to Lewis to make the move – and we were ultimately comfortable with the decision Lewis made to hold position.”

Wolff said the team believed both drivers were capable of winning the race at the time.

“As a racing team, our mission is to win championships and to win races. We thought both of our drivers had a chance to fight for the race win – not just for a podium finish – so we acted accordingly.

“When it comes to drivers in the same team running alternative strategies, it is usual for them not to make life hard for each other when it comes to overtaking. But we must appreciate that we are not in a usual situation any more.”

The team intend to continue giving equal treatment to both drivers, Wolff added:

“At the start of the season, [executive director for technical] Paddy [Lowe] and I agreed a clear policy with the drivers that they are free to race for the win – as long as they are fighting for it.

“Equally, we have been clear that our priority as a team is always to give ourselves the best chance of winning the race – no matter which driver is fighting for it. The calls Paddy and the team on the pit wall made on Sunday were completely in line with our policy.

“And so, our drivers will continue to be free to race for the remainder of the 2014 championship; and they will be racing to win.”

However Wolff added the team’s biggest problem at the moment was not sorting out the tactics between their drivers.

“We should also be clear-sighted about the situation: this debate about team orders is obscuring our real problem at the moment, which is reliability.

“If we give the drivers the opportunity to use the full potential of the car on every lap, then we have the performance to race at the front of the field – and they will be free to race for the win without external factors playing a role. We haven’t done that recently and that has given us some headaches. But those problems can be avoided if we do a better job.”

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112 comments on Mercedes defend Hamilton over team orders call

  1. Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource) said on 30th July 2014, 13:45

    It was nerve-wracking. With each car, there was a point when we didn’t think they could finish. For Nico, it was behind the first Safety Car when it looked like the brake system had failed. With Lewis, it happened when he started losing fuel pressure – and power – as he was running behind Fernando, with Nico closing in. At that point of the race, we were hoping he could make it to the finish – but we certainly expected the problem would be terminal.

    Did not realise this. If Lewis had a DNF after all that work, I’m pretty sure his heart would have broken.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 30th July 2014, 15:50

      My heart would have broken.

      • I would hope any F1 driver’s heart would only break if they followed the team orders and learned at the end of the race that the data showed they would have had a good chance of maintaining the place.

        I would rather have the car DNF than give up a place, let the engineers do their bit and make the car finish the next race……if there is a next race.

      • Bobby (@f1bobby) said on 30th July 2014, 22:44

        Mine too.

      • medman (@medman) said on 31st July 2014, 0:49

        I tell you what jcost…what will be really damaging for F1 is if those engine rules ruin this championship fight between Lewis and Nico…can you imagine one of them being relegated to the back of the field because they exceeded the arbitrary engine limit set by the FIA? Race fans would be livid, and rightfully so. We want to see this fight, and as the rules now stand there is a chance we won’t get to see it thanks to the good ol’ FIA and their (at times) incomprehensible rule book. I’m really hoping this won’t be the case, if it is I’m not sure I will watch anymore this season. What would be the point? What engine is Lewis or Nico on at the moment? I have to believe Lewis has used more what with the awful reliability his side of the garage is suffering this season.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 31st July 2014, 1:16

          @medman, I don’t support the engine limits but I think it unlikely the Merc engined cars will be at the back of the grid more often than the Renault although Ferrari might gain some places, I wouldn’t want to be the guy calculating the grid positions once all the teams have to start using extra parts.

        • Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 31st July 2014, 7:33

          If engine failures & penalties put Lewis or Nico more than 50 points ahead going into the final round, will the championship fight be ruined – or saved?

    • DaveW (@dmw) said on 30th July 2014, 15:53

      Losing fuel pressure would have been extremely ominous as this was the first signal of the leak that barbecued Hamilton’s car the day before. It also may explain why Hamilton was unable to round up Alonso in the closing stage.

      On this point of reliability, the discussion about the race starting position for Hamilton, pre race, seemed to overlook that Mercedes built up a car for Hamilton basically form scratch overnight. And it ran a race distance. It was also apparently set up properly. These guys are really heroes and the process control they have must be amazing. In this situation it must be so easy, at 3 in the morning, to incorrectly torque something, to leave a tool inside an assembly, or miss an electronic setting. With today’s PUs, installing an engine much more complex than before. Even surgeons have been known to “lose” a sponge. Not to mention, they probably had to find time to break down and properly disassemble the burnt car to make sure no secondary battery fires (big danger) or fuel fires would break out in transport. I hope Hamilton thanks them properly.

      • I’m sure Lewis thanked them wholeheartedly, although they would have been more acutely aware of messing something up given the failure that occurred on the car earlier in the day. I think their process control still needs a little bit of work as these near failures during the grand prix probably cost them a few points – Nico wouldn’t have lost positions after the 2nd safety car and Lewis could have passed Alonso.

  2. I guess the Mercedes PR machine is still in overdrive…. the damage has already been done though. The suspicions, the conspiracy theories. They are there because it keeps getting fuelled by reliability contrasts between the two drivers, and situations like this after they said in April that they wouldn’t do team orders, and then tried to do that on Sunday.

    We still have, what, 9 races to go? A lot of time left for more screw ups, let us hope for Mercedes and the casual fans sake it isn’t Hamilton getting another dose of bad luck, or hell. both the cars just performing normally. The facebook flame wars and overkill insults and suspicions are really boring me and turning me off the sport itself… it’s just so petty.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th July 2014, 13:49

      @crekkan

      the conspiracy theories. They are there because it keeps getting fuelled by reliability contrasts between the two drivers

      Only by those ignorant enough to believe the variability in reliability between the two is the result of foul play.

      The Facebook flame wars and overkill insults and suspicions are really boring me and turning me off the sport itself

      Well you’re the first person in this comment thread to mention them so you have only yourself to blame.

      • What? I’m simply stating what I’ve observed, not intentionally provoking another battle between the fans on the two drivers.

        The way you phrase your response is saying that all these fights are somehow my fault? Again, I’m just writing down on what I’ve observed and you seem to go into overdrive on it. You seem to be just picking out certain things that I said too.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th July 2014, 14:02

          @crekkan If you don’t want to have a conversation about something that annoys you then why bring it up?

          • I never said I didn’t WANT to have a conversation about it did I?

            Hell, I’m having a conversation ABOUT the over-reactions, if you can call it that. I mean, my original post was just a commentary ABOUT the over-reactions and my feelings over it.

            I still challenge them because what some people say is so asinine and/or insane someone needs to point out the facts or tell the guy to calm down and have a nice cup of tea.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th July 2014, 14:23

            @crekkan I agree with you that the conspiracy theories are a load of silly nonsense.

            But if you want to have a positive and constructive discussion, then have a positive and constructive discussion. Wailing about how negative the conversation is on Facebook or wherever will not achieve that.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 31st July 2014, 1:23

          So Gino, just stick with F1fanatics and minimise the problem.

      • Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource) said on 30th July 2014, 14:01

        @keithcollantine

        The problem is that you can’t get angry at luck. You can’t insist that luck does something about it. It only takes a tiny drop of irrationality to round on the next best target – the team.

        What makes it worse is that this string of bad luck shows now signs of ending. And each time a brake disk explodes, or the car catches fire, another drop of irrationality gets added to the mix, and another example to the argument. How silly it is doesn’t really matter, they just need to be angry at someone.

        And I predict it’ll only get worse.

        • Bananas (@sjbananas) said on 30th July 2014, 19:13

          I think the issue is that it’s not luck. It is a mistake somewhere in the process of designing or building the car. It is luck from Lewis’ perspective, but from a Mercedes perspective there are issues that they are not addressing. So Lewis can be angry at the team for not addressing these issues. He is doing his part, they should do theirs. It is just as right for Nico to be angry has he has lost points from mechanical issues.

          The safety car, that was luck. The rain, that was luck. The rear brakes failing on Nico’s car was not luck, nor was Lewis’ car catching on fire during qualifying. Nico blamed the luck of the safety car on the FIA. Lewis took advantage of that luck and the rain to go from the pit lane to 3rd, with a possibility had Mercedes done their maths right, of a win. That is not luck, that is talent taking good luck and using it.

          Lewis is right to be angry at the team for making mistakes, for their bad strategy, for asking him to pull over for Nico, but Nico can’t blame the safety car and the medical car for wanting to save someone’s life, if they were in danger. And he can’t blame the rain for not being able to pass JEV for 20 laps.

      • Nick (@nick101) said on 30th July 2014, 15:46

        Only by those ignorant enough to believe the variability in reliability between the two is the result of foul play.

        Correct Keith! Although we had to put up with the same nonsense from Hamilton fans while he was at McLaren.

        The worst part of that though was if they actually pulled their heads out of their you know what they would have seen that it was actually Button who had more mechanical failures, not Hamilton.

        Hamilton had more over all retirements, but that was due to his tendency to bury his car into the wall or the rear end/sidepod of another car.

  3. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 30th July 2014, 14:02

    Sorry so you asked Hamilton to move over because you felt “both still had a chance to win the race as the strategies played out?”

    On that basis, Hamilton had a chance to win and Rosberg only had a chance if Hamilton gave it to him. Why would Hamilton try and help Rosberg out when they are fighting for the title?

    Wake up Mercedes and realise what is currently happening in your team. The Constructors title is won and the drivers title will go to one of your two drivers. It’s a tough situation to manage but don’t expect either to off the other any help. You just make yourselves look silly even asking them.

    • I agree with all of that. Besides chiding Merc I think it is worth recognising that Lewis did a great job of ‘staying within himself’ during the radio call and right after the race in his interview with BBC.

      Was nice to see Lewis even keeled and simply say ‘we will talk about that team order right now in the debrief’. I am no LH fan, I rode in the ‘Jenson Button’ coach around the Silverstone tour thank you, but I was impressed with him this weekend.

      Having the team squawk silly orders while the driver is focusing on their race is a challenge F1 does not need.

    • Actually, there is nothing to defend here. If anything, MercedesAmgF1 should be working round the clock to make sure these things are dealt with for good;

      A) Reliability issues which have dealt a huge blow to Lewis Hamilton’s chances of winning the 2014 championship. They should find out why it is happening more to Hamilton’s car than that of his team mate. And of course prevent that from happening to neither driver.
      B) Ensure that both drivers have approximately equal pit-stop times. The blatantly obvious longer time spent in the pits by Hamilton compared to his team mate is totally unacceptable. Pit times can be easily fixed. Why Mercedes have done nothing about that has not helped conspiracy theorists. Redbull, Mclaren, FI, etc can’t be having 2.7-3sec pits while Hamilton sits in the pit box for 4.4 secs as it occured in Hungaroring.
      C) The team’s strategists should be dynamic during races and strategies should evolve as the race progresses and events take place. Following Toto’s explanation of their tyre strategies in Hungary, it was obvious that they chose not to try something else even while the race was fast evolving and they had access to enough data to adapt accordingly.

      So there is no need ,in my opinion, to defend Lewis Hamilton or any driver since general opinion is in some cases overwhelmingly in suport of him on the incident. They should however, use this break to deal with their numerous problems and present their two drivers with reliable cars, good pit stops and possibly their own race strategists so that the better driver comes out the winner of the 2014 championship. These actions will go a long way in quelling conspiracies.
      Lewis Hamilton is a big F1 star with global following. When his car fails 80% more times than that of his team mate, his fans have every right to question what is going on. The onus is on MercedesAMGF1 who knew the challenge of having Hamilton as a driver to reduce the number of failures his car has compared to his team mate and that certainly may prevent them from being in a position to make silly move-over calls on the radio further fueling conspiracy fires.

      • RAMBOII said on 30th July 2014, 16:28

        Rosberg was equally long in the pitlane at Hungary. They were doing something with the brakes on both cars

        • They needed to get brake duct tape off and this cant be done till wheel man gets his job done , and the man doing the job did so with the paddle target thingy attached to left hand so that made it harder !

      • I think Lewis’s driving style may just be less….um….’mechanically sensitive’. The summer heat is just testing the limits of the Merc power solution.

        How about a tweet of some engine data to show Lewis is a less efficient driver and creates more heat than Rosberg over an equal timed lap….. ;)

        • Bananas (@sjbananas) said on 30th July 2014, 19:19

          I hope you are joking. There is no evidence of this that I am aware of. I doubt that his spark plug broke in Australia due to his driving style. Or if he was 5% lighter on his brakes his disk would not have broken. Or if he was slightly lighter over the curbs his engine would not have caught fire. These catastrophic events don’t occur due to some slightly different driving style. If you have evidence I’d like to see it. Not an opinion from someone outside the team, but actual team data. From Mercedes or McLaren.

          • What next is the guy going to be accused of? I mean, the guy has debunked every bit of accusation thrown at him from not being able to manage tyres and using up fuel more than every other person. Every step of the way, the opposite has been the case. With the fuel consumption graphics, we have seen that the guy is one of the most economical and smart drivers out there constantly using less fuel than most others in similar equipment and even his smart ‘engineering’ team mate. How he does it, you and I don’t know.
            His tyre management has been always superb as is evident in most of his races as opposed to team mates.
            They said he is not ‘intelligent’ enough yet he was able to calculate better than the entire MercedesAmgF1 team + Nico Rosberg the outcome of the call they were making for him in the heat of the moment while driving at over 300km/hr. Now you have MercedesAmgF1 coming out to tell us he was right.
            Now, the talk is he drives his car too hard. In Canada people like you blamed him for his vehicle breaking down on him and yet excused an entire MercedesAmgF1 pitwall and Engineers for mis-reading the state of their car and adequately informing the driver. Besides, how can he be blamed for the failure of his car yet Nico walks scot free when his gear box breaks down?
            If Hamilton is responsible for breaking down his car while chasing Nico, then Nico equally should be held responsible for destroying his gear box while desperately getting away from a chasing Lewis.
            Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-Nico, I am just saying the accusations against Lewis is always biased. It never hurts to look at the general picture. I am all for equal treatment of people.
            Every racing driver’s responsibility is to drive whatever he/she is given, have faith in the machinery and trust his team of engineers to keep a watchful eye over the car.
            That’s what Lewis and every other driver does and I beleive will keep doing.

          • I know Lewis has mostly had bad luck.
            But I wasn’t joking, apart from the bit before the ‘wink’. I did say ‘may’ because I have no evidence and I would never expect a team to say “we didn’t torque the main fuel lines properly” or “we tried to save weight on a component and it broke on the car that hit the curbs more”.

            I like Lewis’s driving style. I think Rosberg drives smoother and adapted quickly to the ‘rear brake by wire’ bit like Danny has…..and Kimi and Vettel didn’t. The power units this year are, in general, going to show greater heat and greater wear depending on driving style. Since the rear regeneration takes stress off the rear brakes…yeah, those might show less wear on the cars driven by drivers that can balance maximum braking with more regeneration.
            IMHO

            Slightly off topic but, does anyone have a favourite book of other F1 mechanics that wrote books like Steve Matchett and Ross Brawn have?

        • You must be kidding, right?
          What next is the guy going to be accused of? I mean, the guy has debunked every bit of trash thrown at him from not being able to manage tyres and using up fuel more than every other person. Every step of the way, the opposite has been the case. With the fuel consumption graphics, we have seen that the guy is one of the most economical and smart drivers out there constantly using less fuel than most others in similar equipment and even his smart ‘engineering’ team mate. How he does it, you and I don’t know.
          His tyre management has been always superb as is evident in most of his races as opposed to team mates.
          They said he is not ‘intelligent’ enough yet he was able to calculate better than the entire MercedesAmgF1 team + Nico Rosberg the outcome of the call they were making for him in the heat of the moment while driving at over 300km/hr. Now you have MercedesAmgF1 coming out to tell us he was right.
          Now, the talk is he drives his car too hard. In Canada people like you blamed him for his vehicle breaking down on him and yet excused an entire MercedesAmgF1 pitwall and Engineers for mis-reading the state of their car and adequately informing the driver. Besides, how can he be blamed for the failure of his car yet Nico walks scot free when his gear box breaks down?
          If Hamilton is responsible for breaking down his car while chasing Nico, then Nico equally should be held responsible for destroying his gear box while desperately getting away from a chasing Lewis.
          Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-Nico, I am just saying the accusations against Lewis is always biased. It never hurts to look at the general picture. I am all for equal treatment of people.
          Every racing driver’s responsibility is to drive whatever he/she is given, have faith in the machinery and trust his team of engineers to keep a watchful eye over the car.
          That’s what Lewis and every other driver does and I beleive will keep doing.

          • Bananas (@sjbananas) said on 31st July 2014, 14:09

            If Lewis is known to be slightly harder on his equipment than Nico then the team would see that in the telemetry and adjust the car settings accordingly. It is throttle, gear change and brake by wire, so the computer can easily adjust for any slight “overdriving” of the car. So all this talk about Lewis being too hard on his cars is untrue. If he is 5% harder on his rear brakes he would get 5% bigger brakes. But people still want to attack Lewis for nothing.

        • I replied you but it is being withheld for whatever reason.

          • I read it and was worth waiting for.
            I didn’t mean to hop on the ‘bash Lewis’ bandwagon. I respect a driver that can get whatever car he has set up properly with his engineer. I just fear the power plants are demanding drivers sacrifice their driving style too much.

      • Vishal Jain (@vishalf1) said on 1st August 2014, 9:23

        Pit lane times for Hamilton were higher because he didn’t stop spot on during pitstop and that took some time for the mechanics to adjust accordingly. Even Mark Webber asked Lewis that was he really satisfied with his stop during the pitstop?

    • Velocityboy (@velocityboy) said on 30th July 2014, 17:19

      Mercedes don’t seem to realize that the WDC is more important to drivers than the Constructors Championship. The CC is usually a by product of a good car and two good drivers fighting for the WDC and is not the primary goal of the drivers, however Mercedes are designing their strategies around the CC which is putting their drivers at odds with each other and the team. I find it amazing that Merc are so out of touch with the goals of their drivers and continue to focus on winning the CC.

      • BBT (@bbt) said on 30th July 2014, 19:01

        @velocityboy I’m sure they do. There is no way they are not going to win the CC and I’m sure they realise that, so its no surprise that favoring one driver as a conspiracy theory raises its head.

        • Velocityboy (@velocityboy) said on 30th July 2014, 21:51

          @bbt I’m not so sure. While the failures to Lewis’ car and the orders that seem to favor Nico may lead one to believe the team are conspiring against Lewis (which I don’t), I think that asking Lewis to yield in the last half of the race shows they were more concerned with maximizing team points than they were with Lewis’ efforts in the WDC.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 31st July 2014, 13:36

      @petebaldwin I think you are still using the luxury of hindsight. At the time it was happening they were not asking LH to hand NR a position. They were asking him to not make it difficult for NR as he was going to have to make up 22 secs. LH had agreed to it…just rightly so didn’t agree to having to actually slow down to help NR get by. NR needed to be a little faster and right on LH’s gearbox and then LH would have let him go on a straight so he (LH) would not lose any time. That was LH’s only issue…losing time. Mercedes has pointed out, and we have seen it umpteen times, that when one bloke is on a different strategy, the other bloke has the onus to not make it difficult for the one who is faster but needs to make up for an extra pit stop.

      Plain and simple they would not, nor did they, ask LH to give NR anything other than a fair chance to maximize his day just as LH was being afforded. Just as LH would have expected if it was he that had an extra stop to make up for.

      • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 31st July 2014, 15:30

        @robbie – I get what you mean but the thing is, this a battle for the championship between Lewis and Nico. Nico’s loss is Lewis’ gain!

        In normal circumstances, I’d completly agree with the call but this isn’t a normal situation!

        I wouldn’t say I’m using hindsight beacuse even if letting Nico past would have meant he finished 6th instead of 7th, Lewis would prefer him to be 7th!

        Obviously the team wouldn’t want that so they made the call but it doesn’t matter whether they knew Nico would catch Lewis or not – you cannot ask a driver to help his main rival for the championship out with so few races remaining because it isn’t going to happen!

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st August 2014, 1:53

          @petebaldwin Yeah I do hear you about the rivalry, I do understand that side of it that you, et al, lean toward when it is the only two WDC contenders and they are on the same team, and how that makes it different than the normal 2 drivers/2 strategies scenario that happens often enough.

          Normally, one driver would just be screwing up his own team by impeding half the garage from maximizing his teammate’s day, just as his is hopefully being maximized. Hundreds of millions are being spent on both drivers.

          The fact is, Lewis complied, and just wasn’t willing to actually slow to help. Good on him. There’s your WDC level, competitive attitude for you. He knew at the time, NR would have to pit again and was going to end up behind him still.

          I maintain, they were not asking LH to help NR, but just not impede him, and NR just never got close and forced the issue. Nothing in the tone of the radio comms nor the post-race quotes implies to me they knew at the time exactly how it was all going to play out and therefore tried to favour NR.

          That’s the tone of this rivalry I prefer to see, which I believe we are still seeing, which is to honor the viewing audience by offering to maximize both driver’s chances at all times. That’s all they were trying to do, and if they weren’t LH wouldn’t have complied, with the understandable qualifier that he wouldn’t slow and hurt his own pace and position to help. Fair game. Go ahead, team, and see your two strategies through, but don’t ask me to slow…and they didn’t, and he didn’t, and it’s all fine.

          If NR was in fact way faster at the time, would you have expected LH to defend like the dickens then? Keep in mind…he had complied.

          The only ‘help’ they were asking of Lewis, was for a fair and square rivalry, and for the whole team to maximize their day. They were not directly asking him to literally aid NR in his WDC fight. Sounds ridiculous just typing it.

          • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 1st August 2014, 10:02

            @robbie – true but by making it easy for him to go past, he is indirectly helping him… I can see the argument both ways to be fair!

            I would have loved Rosberg to have caught Hamilton and tried to make a move stick though. I bet Lewis would have defended! :D

      • Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource) said on 31st July 2014, 21:46

        At the time it was happening they were not asking LH to hand NR a position

        @robbie You mean apart from repeatedly telling him to let Nico past on the straight?

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st August 2014, 1:19

          @fluxsource Yes…let NR past because he is about to be 22secs behind you. That is not asking LH to give up a position. It is only in hindsight as we see how hugely NR clawed in the top 3 near the end, that we can say NR would have been that advantaged. It was only in hindsight, that LH said he couldn’t wrap his head around giving up a position to NR.

          At the time, he was going to comply as long as NR didn’t slow him at all (ie.LH was thinking of his own track position) which is why it was supposed to happen on a straight and NR was supposed to be faster.

          Ask yourself, if LH knew at the time he might be handing NR a position, he would not have said he would comply, but just not literally slow to help make it happen, would he? No, he would have refused outright, at the time. Rather, he knew even if he let NR go, he himself comes out ahead after NR has to pit again.

  4. BasCB (@bascb) said on 30th July 2014, 14:05

    Hm, yeah. I think its good that the team shows they are united in this case. But I am not too sure everyone in the team really agrees that this was needed, nor that not heeding the instruction was the right thing to do.

    But whatever, as stated, the bigger issue is reliability meaning that they started from diametrically opposed sides of the grid once more instead of just battling it out between themselves, even if it does make the season and the racing that much better for all of us to watch.

  5. John H (@john-h) said on 30th July 2014, 14:23

    In hindsignt, this kind of makes sense. They chose to split strategies at the point when Rosberg came in, not when Hamilton did – so at the time I guess the prime tyre for Hamilton might have been an option of sorts. I wonder whether Hamilton actually has the power to overrule the team on the tyre choice? If so, then he’s partly to blame for the prime.

    Anyway, I hope they learn from this and don’t bother splitting strategies anymore. It’s kind of obvious really, because if one guy does better, the other guy is going to say “well why didn’t you do that with me!?” I think they should just let either side of the garage decide what the best strategy is from this race forward.

    • Pat said on 30th July 2014, 19:34

      The reason they’ve split strategies in the past (Bahrain, Silverstone) was, I thought, to avoid the driver behind simply following his team mate to the end of the race. Since they don’t allow the guy behind to undercut that must mean pitting the lead driver earlier and on softer tyres. That should lead to the lead driver (Rosberg on Sunday) being even further ahead when that round of pit stops is done. That didn’t happen and when Hamilton ended up ahead of Rosberg the latter’s strategy had already gone wrong and the team’s response to that was not good.

    • Ken (@myxomatosis) said on 30th July 2014, 22:49

      I remember Lewis telling his engineer that he didn’t think the mediums he had on would last till the end of the race. His engineer basically told him that there was no worry and that they would.

  6. Michael said on 30th July 2014, 14:33

    People need to shut it with this bull that Merc is favoring one driver over the other. The team wanted to impose team orders because they thought Rosberg (on newer tyres and faster ones) was able to challenge for the victory, hence a better team result with him on P1 or 2 and Lewis on P3 (instead of P3 & P4)! It’s as simple as that. Now, was Hamilton correct to do as he did? Of course, after all, there is only one battle going on this season and that’s for the drivers championship! The team already have the constructors title in the bag, they just need to be patient.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 30th July 2014, 14:38

      They’re not favouring one driver but they are being incredibly stupid to assume that either driver is even slightly bothered about getting the best result for the team.

      Hamilton would be happier finishing 3rd with Rosberg DNFing than he would winning the race and Rosberg coming 2nd.

      • F1 Noob (@noob) said on 30th July 2014, 20:56

        @petebaldwin

        They’re not favouring one driver but they are being incredibly stupid to assume that either driver is even slightly bothered about getting the best result for the team.

        You sir, have hit the nail on the head

      • matt said on 31st July 2014, 11:01

        team principals always deny favouring one driver over the other.ferrari always denied favouring alonso over massa,redbull denied favouring vettel over webber.ppl like keith call the conspiracy theorists silly,but its funny how these silly people can predict whats going to happen to lewis or his car in quali or the race before it does.toto is saying he thought both could win,but after the race he said NOTHING about lewis being able to win the race,he only kept saying nico could have won.what toto has said now is PR talk for gullable ppl.

    • Lancer033 (@lancer033) said on 30th July 2014, 14:48

      if Rosberg was even close to fighting for position I could understand the call (even if i didn’t like it) but he couldn’t even stay within DRS range of Hamilton when they were telling him to let ROS pass. The called made no sense in any way.

    • OOliver said on 31st July 2014, 6:28

      It was actuallly Hamilton on the newer tyres.

    • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 31st July 2014, 7:27

      Hamilton was leading Rosberg and he had unused soft tyres from qualifying. I still don’t get why they decided to put him on an inferior strategy. It should have been “Intermediate-Soft-Soft-Soft” for Lewis, as it was clearly faster.

  7. Michael C (@surface) said on 30th July 2014, 14:40

    Good post, Keith. Going to need lots more F1 stories over the next 3 weeks to prevent the withdraw symptoms!

  8. nidzovski (@nidzovski) said on 30th July 2014, 15:11

    It takes some balls to admit this. Bravo Mercedes or whoever is in charge there!

  9. Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 30th July 2014, 15:51

    What’s this, Mercedes vs. Mercedes ?!? Didn’t they (they = Mercedes) asked HAM to clear the way for ROS ?! Now they support HAM for not giving up his place ?!?! Ahahahaaaaaaaaaaa

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 31st July 2014, 13:45

      Yes they support LH for feeling he shouldn’t have to actually slow down to let NR go, as pretty much all of us have agreed with, but he would have let him go had NR a bit more pace and the ability at that point in time to get by LH without holding him up. You do understand that NR was making an extra stop, right? That he was going to be 22 secs behind LH, right?

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 31st July 2014, 16:11

      Yeah, that was my idea too. They should have seen the error of their ways immediately when they started to ask Hamilton to move over. By that time it was already over for Rosberg. At best he could jump ahead of Hamilton.

      How difficult was it to see that Rosberg was going nowhere with Alonso just ahead of Hamilton. I mean, he couldn’t even close up to Hamilton, so how on earth was he going to get past Alonso?

      Especially since they already would have seen Rosberg’s inability to pass Vergne for a whole stint. That’s what cost Rosberg any chance of a good result anyway. That and letting himself get past by Alonso and Vergne to begin with.

  10. CarlD said on 30th July 2014, 16:00

    @Keithcollantine,

    Why, Sir, must one be ignorant to harbour suspicion of foul play in a racing team fielding two drivers with widely diverging reliability issues?

    Human actions are not entirely motivated by logic, or fairness, or even competence. It takes only one slight to motivate some individuals to kill. It takes only a bet placed against the odds to motivate greedy individuals to Himalayas of wrongdoings.

    So please, accept that, even if improbable, sabotage and favoritism are a possibility.

    • tino852 (@tino852) said on 30th July 2014, 17:56

      @CarlD thank you for speaking some sense into people who completely deny the slightest probability of foul play. It’s in human nature to be dishonest.

    • Jabosha (@jabosha) said on 30th July 2014, 18:48

      Absolutely, totally agree. I bet we’ve all been in the spot to handle such instances where you have to make decisions between two people in an old profession of mine. When even the slightest ambiguous decision comes in to play. Your favoritism can affect you more than you know. I’m not advocating conspiracy but the belief or attitude, formula one is above such behavior is even more absurd.

    • Bananas (@sjbananas) said on 30th July 2014, 19:26

      Many people said it was crazy to say that Piquet Jr crashed to help Alonso win. And guess what? He did that. For 2 years the other teams said that Red Bull must be running some ride height adjuster between qualifying and the race, then they were caught with one on the car, hidden in the third shocker (but remarkably not punished for it). Ron Dennis thought it was so crazy that McLaren might be stealing Ferrari secrets that he told the FIA of this allegation himself. That was wrong to the tune of $100m. There are many conspiracy theories in F1 that turned out to be true. It is wrong to automatically reject them on the basis that they are conspiracy theories.

    • Guy (@sudd) said on 30th July 2014, 22:49

      @CarlD, well said. It’s amazing when people convince themselves 100% that normal human behavior no longer applies. F1 with all its money and special interest groups is ripe for corruption. The McLaren and Crashgate controversies weren’t that long ago. Imagine what other controversies were dealt with in-house so as not to smear the image of F1.

      Is it likely that there is favoritism or sabotage at Mercedes or at any other team? No, but we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the possibility.

      • Bananas (@sjbananas) said on 31st July 2014, 14:05

        In Australia the Ferrari car ran for the first half of the race without the ERS boost because the FIA forgot to turn it back on after the first two laps. That also happened to another team. It was kept quiet as it would have made the FIA look stupid. But it was mentioned by Alonso some weeks later on, but not highlighted in the press.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 31st July 2014, 16:21

      Does Toto seem to favor Rosberg over Hamilton. Sure, but there is no way that it makes sense to actually go as far as sabotaging Hamilton’s car.

      Faulty wiring in Australia and a loose fuel line in Hungary just sounds like clumsiness or even incompetence from Hamilton’s team of mechanics. Perhaps they even did something wrong to cause the brake disk to fail in Germany.

      Remember Schumacher had the same issues with “reliability” with his car. In that case the victim was 100% German.

  11. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 30th July 2014, 16:01

    What is going on in Mercedes team? So they have a bunch of engineers and experts who, together, make the decision to ask Lewis to move aside, and it`s so bad that then they later admit it was the wrong call? They have everybody’s attention now, but this isn’t good marketing.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 30th July 2014, 16:06

      What’s wrong with admitting a mistake @omarr-pepper ? I think that’s good marketing personally. What’s bad is covering up mistakes with layers and layers of excuses – this however is an attempt to nip things in the bud and a pretty good one at that IMHO.

    • Pat said on 30th July 2014, 18:50

      I don’t think Mercedes have finished panicking yet.

    • Ken (@myxomatosis) said on 30th July 2014, 22:51

      I think the main issue is that they have one unit doing strategy for both drivers instead of a strategist for each driver.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 31st July 2014, 13:51

        I think Mercedes just looks like a bunch of racers trying to maximize both their driver’s chances and have been thrilling the audience all season long by dominating but letting both drivers race it out…the opposite of MS/Ferrari who when they dominated, robbed the viewing audience of racing.

  12. lethalnz said on 30th July 2014, 16:02

    funny how it turned out in the end,
    Merc not realizing what they had just asked Ham to do until he refused to yield,
    i can see the irony in that, others might see it differently, but the point is it was said,
    now Merc understand the full on situation between there driver it will not happen again,
    Niki understands because he was a driver, he backs Ham for his refusal.

    what scares me is the closeness of the two drivers near the end,
    can you see what is likely to happen now when either driver try’s to pass the other?

  13. DaveW (@dmw) said on 30th July 2014, 16:10

    I think this is a nice little bit of work from the PR team in Stuttgart. Look, either the order was well-judged or not. If they really thought they both had a chance to win, then why did they just say never mind when Hamilton refused to move? Changed their minds? They let Hamilton basically determine strategy for both cars then and there, so they didn’t make any determination about strategy at all. And this was a reflection of the broader issue—they were in an entirely reactive mode in the race. Now they are saying, we had a master plan to win, ya’ll.

    I think generally Rosberg comes of this looking silly and he should be a bit aggrieved with the team for how they are handling it now. First, by noting the “aggressive” strategy he was on, they signal that it was Nico’s job to make it work by passing cars and going quickly. Second, then they underline the point that Nico just didn’t get close enough to Hamilton to pass. It’s true he didn’t be aggressive enough. But in terms of passing Hamilton, well, he got within 1s at one point. And if the team is telling him, Hamilton will let you through, why would he be in a hurry to dive down the inside? 1s should have been good enough for a team-orders pass. He wasted a lot of time there if he was going to make the pass. I think Rosberg gave the win away on his own, but the team is strangely twisting the knife here by saying 1. We just decided to let Hamilton dictate your strategy and 2. you were too slow. My allegiances don’t lie with him in this battle, but he is still leading the table and driving extremely well overall, and I think the team owes him a little respect.

    Maybe in the future they should let the two drivers communicate directly on the radio, if they are going to just let one of them veto a strategy call directly. I would be totally fine with one driver saying, “I’m on 3-stopper, bro, let me by so I can win” and the other saying “hahahahahahaha!” It would make the radio transcript better reading.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 30th July 2014, 18:03

      I agree @dmw, this Episode shows a certain lack of regard for the drivers: in the race to Hamilton, now to Rosberg, as you show.

      Still, good to admit they screwed up, and they also seem to realise where their base problem is, and time to think about it.

    • tino852 (@tino852) said on 30th July 2014, 18:05

      @dmw

      1s should have been good enough for a team-orders pass.

      0.000 seconds isn’t even good enough for a team orders pass. There should be no team orders at all. The best racing is had between two drivers driving the same car. let them race!!!

  14. vjm said on 30th July 2014, 16:22

    Things are getting tasty at Mercedes. There will be a lot of bitterness in the second part of the season. Some kind of split within the team is inevitable.

  15. Ryan (@ryanisjones) said on 30th July 2014, 17:51

    All conspiracies are nonsense… until they aren’t. I’m not saying I agree that Hamilton’s car has been tampered with, or that there is an agenda against him, however it is not an incredibly absurd allusion. As improbable as it may seem it could be true. What I am saying is nobody here can prove it hasn’t. Therefore the people who harbour such ideas should not be called “ignorant”.

    It takes a lot of strength to go against the grain and freedom of thought and expression should always be encouraged. A few years ago Diesel was accepted as the greener option to petrol. Today 50% of cars purchased in the UK run Diesel and today we have found Diesel to be worse for the environment. Is it beyond belief that oil companies could have been behind silencing of studies back then. Would you have been “ignorant” for making that assumption? Makes you wonder about how they are trying to silence those against climate change today.

    My point is the true “ignorant” are those who think the world is run by the book. That people in power don’t abuse that power. That most humans aren’t in it “for themselves”. F1 is one of the most biased and political sports about. Major decisions are down to human interpretation and view-ably inconsistent. Therefore I welcome the free thinkers as much as I welcome the data divers. If an argument is so easy to refute, then refute it with ease. But lets ease on the name calling as the only ones who deserve that, are the ones who are doing it themselves.

    • Bananas (@sjbananas) said on 31st July 2014, 14:03

      Someone put white powder in the fuel tank of a Ferrari once. While the exact details have never come to light, and that person is no longer with us, it happened. So it is always possible that someone in the Mercedes team is doing small things to cause problems for Lewis. But it is also possible that nothing is happening. But to say that there cannot be a conspiracy theory is to ignore the many past examples of conspiracy theories in F1.

    • Kenneth Ntulume said on 31st July 2014, 15:01

      You are wise my friend.
      I am shocked, that Keith would call some of his clients ignorant and stupid.
      For having an opinion that is not impossible…I do not know what he would call me if I said he has an interest and agenda in a particular opinion he holds. Hope my opinion sees the light of day….

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