Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2017

Hamilton ‘paid it forward’ to his team mate but could Vettel do the same?

2017 Hungarian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

“I’m not slowing down for Nico.”

Lewis Hamilton’s attitude towards team orders at the Hungaroring was rather different three years ago when Mercedes wanted him to let Nico Rosberg past.

On Sunday, to the surprise of many, Hamilton pulled over on the last lap of the race to let Valtteri Bottas through into the final podium position.

His race engineer Peter Bonnington praised Hamilton’s “gentlemanly” move but it came at a cost: Three world championship points, to be exact. Hamilton doesn’t need anyone to tell him how much a few championship points can be worth. He lost last year’s title by five and was two points away from being world champion in his rookie season.

So why did Hamilton handle things differently this time?

A change in approach

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2014
Hamilton wouldn’t let Rosberg past in 2014
The first difference is obvious. In the previous three seasons Rosberg was his sole rival for the championship. This year Hamilton is fighting a war on multiple fronts, not only striving to keep ahead of Bottas but to beat Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari too.

Still, one could ask why did Hamilton give Bottas the wave-by in Hungary when he didn’t in similar circumstances at Bahrain. On both occasions Bottas had let Hamilton past so he could try to pass a rival head, and both times Hamilton was unable to. In Bahrain Hamilton kept the position Bottas had given him, in Hungary he gave it back.

In the case of Bahrain, Mercedes said there was no question of making Hamilton give up the near-15 second lead he had over Bottas going into the final lap. In Hungary Hamilton’s lead was half that, 7.7 seconds, when he backed off to let Bottas catch up. This was despite Bottas having been told to stay close so Mercedes could “re-invert” the running order.

There were other differences between these scenarios. In Hungary their strategies were much the same, whereas in Bahrain Hamilton was running a different strategy which involved running a short final stint in an attempt to catch Vettel.

But a common thread running through Bahrain and Hungary was how accommodating Hamilton was towards his team mate. At one stage in Bahrain he told Mercedes he didn’t need Bottas to let him past as he wasn’t being held up. And in Hungary he volunteered the terms of the arrangement to let Bottas past if he couldn’t get ahead of the Ferraris. Hamilton was never this accommodating towards Rosberg.

There was undoubtedly an element of playing the long game about Hamilton’s decision. He made need similar favours in the future, and this kind of team orders ‘deal’ is something we’re starting to see more often. Though not all drivers have realised the value of them.

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The team orders ‘deal’

Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, Monte-Carlo, 2015
Kvyat let Ricciardo by, then got his place back
Team orders were crude implements three decades ago. Teams would hang out a pit board demanding their drivers hold position or reverse their running order, and the drivers would decide whether they felt like obeying them. Often, as in the famous cases of Carlos Reutemann at Williams, Rene Arnoux at Renault and Didier Pironi at Ferrari, they chose not to.

Now radio communications are more reliable, teams’ strategies are more sophisticated and, arguably, the importance of keeping drivers motivated by not humiliating them with team orders is better understood. This explains the rise of the kind of team orders ‘deal’ which Mercedes struck on Sunday.

One of the first times it appeared was in Monaco two years ago when Daniil Kvyat was told to let his Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo past to attack cars ahead of them. Ricciardo was told to give the place back if he didn’t make any gains, none were made, so he let Kvyat past within sight of the chequered flag. Just as Hamilton did to Bottas last weekend.

Other teams have used the same tactic since. Toro Rosso attempted to in Australia this year, though one of their drivers subsequently retired.

And Force India attempted the same in Canada. But when Force India told Sergio Perez to let Esteban Ocon through on the condition he would get his place back if Ocon didn’t make any progress, Perez refused.

This example serves to illustrate why it was impressive that Bottas and Hamilton complied with their instructions. Perez and Ocon aren’t realistically in contention for the world championship, yet Perez was unwilling to swap places with his team mate. It makes the level of trust between Hamilton and Bottas all the more remarkable.

Could Ferrari do it?

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2017
What will happen if Ferrari are in the same situation?
It begs an obvious question: Would their championship rivals Ferrari do the same thing? And do Vettel and Raikkonen trust each other enough to comply?

Raikkonen has played the role of the obedient number two before, notably in 2008 when he was alongside Felipe Massa, despite being the reigning champion at the time.

Vettel, however, has at best a mixed history of doing what his team ask. He flagrantly defied an instruction to hold position behind Mark Webber in Malaysia four years ago, though Webber had also disobeyed a team instruction previously. In 2014 Vettel complied with one order to let new team mate Ricciardo pass him, then responded to another one with the words “tough luck”.

Perhaps it’s not even a case of whether Ferrari are capable of operating in this way, but whether they want to. The manner in which Raikkonen lost the Monaco Grand Prix to Vettel prompted claims Ferrari are paying lip service to the idea of treating their drivers equally while Vettel gets their more familiar ‘number one’ treatment.

We’ll only find that out which of these is true if Ferrari find themselves in the same position Mercedes were in last weekend.

As Raikkonen has increasingly got on terms with Vettel in qualifying of late – the score is 3-3 over the past six races – this may happen. However Vettel’s much greater lead over Raikkonen in the points standings is probably going to swing the balance before long.

2017 Hungarian Grand Prix

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135 comments on “Hamilton ‘paid it forward’ to his team mate but could Vettel do the same?”

  1. I think Vettel is quite ruthless and single minded, he’ll do what’s best for him because he’s always been treated as a defacto #1. Ferrari are also THE team orders team for their #1, as per Felipe Baby.

    The other drivers in question have either been on the receiving end from a self-proclaimed #1 or have had to endure enforced equality until points calculations came into it.

    F1 is a team sport, and for me personally Ferrari’s approach doesn’t sit comfortably. I appreciated Hamilton returning the place last weekend, although expected him to use the excuse of Bottas being too far behind.

    Seb will be Seb. For the more processional races, it’s more entertaining watching the midfield drivers fight for position/points and the drama of them ignoring team orders!

    1. If F1 is a team sport, why were you unhappy to see Ferrari work as a team to extend Seb’s lead in the title fight against Lewis whilst earning a 1-2?

      1. And in this case Seb had pole, had a steering wheel problem but held the lead, and yes Ferrari were looking at a 1-2 anyway ie. the maximum result. Just because KR could have passed SV didn’t mean that would have made any sense even forgetting Ferrari’s penchant for a one-rooster philosophy. Frankly if they were truly one-rooster these days they wouldn’t have two WDC’s on the team. KR had an equal opportunity at the start of the year to earn more points and be ahead of Seb. He knows he has not done that. A couple of times he has looked ticked on the podium that he was behind SV, and some fans mistook that for him being ticked at being treated as a number two when in fact he himself expressed his frustration that he himself wasn’t quicker. Another thing…now rumours are that KR will be back at Ferrari next year. That has to mean he is not a designated number two and that in fact KR knows it was up to him to compete and he didn’t. If he’s comfortable returning he must be comfortable that he will once again have his season in is own hands next year.

        1. Except by pitting him immediately after Vettel he lost an easy pass – should have been left out for 3 laps or so to allow him to use the full pace of the fully-working Ferrari and he should have comfortably taken the lead – KR is a number 2 driver and knows it

          1. Sure there’s that too, or they may have also been kind to SV since he was suffering a steering wheel problem. And really, taking a 1-2 on Saturday, looking to take a 1-2 on Sunday, KR effectively out of the WDC chase, many teams would have looked ‘one -rooster’ at Hungary as they would have done the same thing as Ferrari did.

            And whose to say that had LH posed a greater threat to KR and thus to SV, they wouldn’t have done a swap as a last option to at least keep the 25 points from LH by having KR grab them if SV was struggling more than he did.

          2. I wonder what this certainty is based on? Kimi’s words that the tyres were good?
            Kimi had a 1sec gap to Vettel before their stops, gained 0.4″ in the pits and still emerged from his stop about 0.5sec behind Seb. What did he gain on Seb in this lap? A few tenths?
            The effect of the new tyres would most probably compensate for Vettel’s steering issues.
            Also, you have to take into account that Vettel was being careful and wasn’t using the kerbs because he could. If he had to push for 2-3-4 laps to ensure he wasn’t overcut by Kimi, he’d use the kerbs – possibly risking a complete failure. A risk that Ferrari would be stupid to take.

      2. Plus, as I see it, it made sense to keep Seb in front, as that allowed them to be sure of the 1-2. With DRS from Seb, Kimi would never have been overtaken by the Mercedes, allowing Ferrari to be comfortable that they’d get the 1-2. However, if they let Kimi go, then Seb would’ve been a sitting duck for Hamilton or Bottas to go past, as he would’ve had no way to defend with his car problem as Kimi would’ve gone off into the distance. I wanted to see Kimi win as much as anyone, but from a Constructor’s point of view, keeping Kimi as a buffer helped Ferrari.

        1. @hugh11
          Exactly that. In order for Ferrari to ensure their 1-2 they needed Kimi to buffer Hamilton away from Seb.

          Let’s not kid ourselves though. Ferrari stapled their colours to the mast before the season started. Seb is and was their number 1. Kimi is only still there because Seb wants it that way. Alonso would be back there in a shot if Seb wasn’t performing this year. Also Lewis’s actions may just have got Bottas another year at Merc, meaning another seat not available for Alonso.

          If Alonso was at Ferrari with Seb, would that make Seb the new Irvine, Reubens, Massa, Kimi?

          I can’t see Seb being a number 2 or even an equal he’s far too Alpha for that. Not a complaint just the way it is, if you want to be the best of the best of the best you need every advantage you can get even if it’s just getting to the canteen first.

          1. @9chris9 I doubt several things you’ve claimed. Kimi is not one to accept a number two role from race one. He wouldn’t be there if they tried that on him. He is one to accept when the math hasn’t worked out for him though. He is not there because Seb wants him there nor because he is Seb’s stooge.

            FA would be back there in a shot? Few think he would want to go back or that he would even be invited. And you’ve got Seb down as someone who calls the driver shots on the team but he’d be in Irvine to FA? Makes no sense whatsoever.

            LH is trying to keep a compliant VB on the team, sure, but the jury is still out on whether or not Merc wants a compliant teammate or one who can better keep ahead of the resurgent Ferraris. There is no reason for TW not to hire FA.

      3. There was no team orders. It’s just that Kimi didn’t explicitly ask the team to order Vettel to yield.

        1. “There is no reason for TW not to hire FA.”

          tw is vb’s manager. i would suggest this is a pretty compelling reason to suggest otherwise.

    2. ‘Seb will be Seb’

      ?

      ‘The arrogant know only one justification….me first ‘.

      And of course what happens long term is a rigid determination
      by the arrogants victim to get his payback. Often such redress
      is spectacular, too. I’m quite sure that many F1 drivers’ eyes
      were opened by the move a certain driver made in uncontrolled
      fury at Baku this year. They will also remember the token wrist
      slap he received from a former Ferrari team manager and
      current FIA commandant.

      So would the current Ferrari points leader ever do what Hamilton
      did last weekend ?

      It’s gone awfully quiet.

      1. + about a billion.

        Great post

      2. ever do what Hamilton did last weekend ?

        @loen to be fair the rest of your comment could be said about HAM a few years back (maybe even last year – though I guess that’d be a stretch?)

        1. I would never suggest that any F1 driver was a perfect
          gentleman. They’re in one of the most viciously competitive
          environments you could invent. Almost gladiatorial.

          For the most part it’s ‘no quarter asked and none granted’

          And then one of the top guys gives ground unexpectedly
          ( Hamilton gives place back to Bottas ) It’s a good banker
          lap. A good insurance policy, and a thoroughly decent move
          all round. In some future tight situations, Hamilton will
          not lack for a rear gunner, and the whole team gains by the
          good vibes.

          Superb psychology and forward planning. Going to be
          a really juicy fight this second-half !

          1. That’s a really good point. I initially assumed this would come back to bite Merc in their behind if Ham misses out on the title by a few points. But after reading your reply, this act could ultimately mean Ham getting more points with a content team mate. Cheers.

      3. @loen
        If Vettel had the faster car and knew he was going to win the WDC regardless, yes he would have.

      4. We wouldn’t know, would we? Remember the circumstances of this year’s race. Bottas yielded first. The reason he yielded was because there was an agreement, very explicit and hear by everyone, that Hamilton should give the place back if he couldn’t overtake either Ferraris. First, it was for 5 laps, then extended for another 5, until we got to the last lap.

        As the article pointed out, Seb doesn’t have a very good history when it comes to obeying team orders. But he also hasn’t been placed in a position where he agreed to give a place back. I guess Multi 21 is the closest, but it’s still not in point because he didn’t owe Webber. And that’s the crucial thing to consider with what Hamilton did. He OWED third place to Bottas. Because there was a clear agreement. Because he wouldn’t have overtaken Bottas under ordinary circumstances–certainly not with the turbulent air that’s overheating the engines.

        So it’s a good question, whether Seb would’ve done it. But he hasn’t been put in that situation, so everything anyone says is just purely conjecture.

      5. I don’t know if VET would have let him past and neither do you. And what does the incident at Baku have to do with it?

        Speaking of Baku, I seem to recall HAM asking the team to have BOT slow down so he could catch up VET. And HAM purposely slowed his pace in the final race last year to give VES a better chance to pass ROS despite team orders. Is this sportsmanship?

        HAM moved because it’s standard protocol in F1 and nothing more.

    3. Hamilton never earned third place so gave it back. Cleverly he waited until the last lap and last corner just in case Max jumped VB in which case he wouldn’t have to give the place back.

      1. logic in a thread about Hamilton?? run!! run away before they come with the torches

        1. Hamilton never earned third place so gave it back

          @monosodico Eh? I see no torches at least in this thread – and considering how team orders often don’t quite go too well (e.g. Abu Dhabi last year, VET going “tough luck”, Force India in Canada this year, maybe even like Imola 1982) I guess it’s only OK to appreciate it when it does (though yeah, overreaction does appear)

  2. I think Kimi is too far back in the standings now for SV to need to give up any points to him.

    And I think LH badly wants compliant VB as a teammate next year because that would make his life so much easier than if they were to hire FA. So LH wants to play nice with VB and has already tried to plant a seed that hiring FA would be ‘toxic.’

  3. I think Hamilton sees Bottas as less of a threat compared to Nico.

    1. I agree, Bottas will never be a true title contender so long as Hamilton is his team mate.

      1. I don’t know if you’ve been looking, But BOT is only 18 points shy of HAM and has out qualified him 5 times. And he’s getting more comfortable with the car each week. There are a lot of races left.

    2. @petebaldwin That in combination with the fact it was only 3 points makes this for me a non-discussion. Sure it was nice of Hamilton to give the podium back but he surely must’ve done it with in mind that he will have to ask Bottas for more in the future.

    3. I have a different opinion, I think they just get along. Which didn’t happen with Nico.

      1. Yes, the moment Rosberg parked his car in the escape road at Mirabeau to bring out the yellow flag was the turning point. After that Lewis would ‘give’ his team mate nothing whatsoever, and neither would any other championship contender in the same position. You reap what you sow, there is hard racing, Bahrain 2014, and there is cheating, Monaco 2014

      2. Yes, I agree with that. Bottas is good enough that Hamilton has to drive at his very best or he will be beaten, and it seems there is a lot of mutual respect between them.
        There are only two drivers without a contract for next year who could displace Bottas, currently third in the World Drivers’ Championship, from his seat, and they are Alonso and Vettel. If that scenario were to repeat itself, and one of them was the driver instead of Bottas, would they have let Hamilton passed in the first place? I suspect not. Could they have overtaken the cars in front? Again one has to suspect not. So the question is are Mercedes willing to loose that respect and friendliness off the track between their drivers when there isn’t any benefit? They already lead the Constructors’ Championship, which is theoretically their priority, and it looks increasingly like they will win it. If one of them were to replace Bottas, what would they bring to the table that Bottas hasn’t?

        This race does highlight an important point about the aerodynamic rules, which is a slower car can fend off a faster car by virtue of the air turbulence.

        1. Mercedes would love to get Vettel for next year, and would certainly exchange Bottas for him.

          Not because Bottas is not doing a good job but because Vettel is stronger. Mercedes would also see the benefit of separating Vettel and Ferrari. It seems like Vettel is a big part of Ferraris resurgence and they are becoming real contenders. It’s almost uncanny how similar Vettels time in Ferrari has been to Schumachers early years at Ferrari. (96-98). Mercedes know Ferrari is a growing force and would love to stop the momentum.

          1. If they have been doing their homework Mercedes would likely prefer either Ricciardo or Verstappen. Vettel is vastly over rated and a damaged brand after Baku road rage incident

          2. I doubt SV is leaving Ferrari for Mercedes and there is no reason for TW not to replace VB with FA.

          3. @frasier

            “Vettel is vastly over rated”, according to who? Your expert opinion, or Andrew Benson’s maybe??

          4. @frasier -Vettel is a multiple world champion and is German, so of course they would want him or Alonso if available, and they were willing to take the risk. Who overrates SV by the way? Of course, Vettel is likely to stay at Ferrari. There wouldn’t be any real point replacing one racewinning but non champion driver (Bottas) with another (Ricciardo/Verstappen) as you suggest.

  4. As touched upon in the article, 2014-2016 was a Mercedes-fest. By the end of Round 1 each year, we knew that the World Champion would be either Rosberg or Hamilton. Because of that, why would Hamilton let through his only competitor? He’d gladly sacrifice a team result here or there in order to keep Rosberg behind. Or as I think he said once “I’m not moving over for Nico. If he is faster, then he can overtake me.”

    This year is totally different. Vettel leads the way, there is genuine competition for the title and Lewis will need all the help he can get. While Bottas is still within touching distance, he’s far enough back that sooner or later the team will surely need to back Hamilton for the charge.

    As I mentioned elsewhere though… I don’t think it was a grand gesture by Lewis; he simply “borrowed a tenner” and then returned it, as was his duty dictated in the terms of the borrowing.

    As for whether Vettel would do the same, I think it’s irrelevant as Ferrari don’t operate in that way. If Raikkonen is holding up Vettel, then Raikkonen lets Vettel through; simple as that. No deals, a straight order.

    1. I think that also Hamilton knows (although only time will tell whether he is right on that account) that he is better than Bottas and will beat him, if all things are equal. I think that with Rosberg, he did not feel quite as convinced (since he had seen how Rosberg “outsmarted” him a few times). After writing that, maybe the trust was already not there anymore between Nico and Lewis?

    2. @ben-n
      I think you’re spot on with your comment. It was Rosberg vs Hamilton in an all Merc battle up until last year. Right from pre season testing we knew that it was a 2 horse race. Their teammate was their only challenger… so the there wasn’t much of a team play required all season.

      This year we finally have Ferrari vs Mercedes. Finally, the Mercedes drivers have a common enemy in Vettel, and they’re both fighting to take points of him.

      I actually respect Mercedes for not backing Hamilton 100% already. They want their drivers to race, and they not want to demotivate Bottas. Bottas has taken many valuable points of Vettel, and indirectly that has helped Lewis Hamilton. Kimi on the other hand has been demotivated and frustrated because of having had a #2 driver status at Ferrari. Ferrari took a win from him in Monaco and denied him one in Hungary. Kimi isn’t going to be giving it a 100%, and that could cost Seb the championship.

      1. How nice! Yeah, Mercedes let their driver race… BUT NOT EACH OTHER! How can they race when they’re asked to move aside?!?!?!? Funny how you say that there’s equal treatment between drivers at Mercedes… but every time HAM is behind BOT… somehow BOT is asked to move aside! If they race… each other… why is not HAM overtaking him?!?!? Then, you imply that at Ferrari the drivers are labeled no.1 and no.2 and treated in consequence, but there’s less (obvious) proof than at Mercedes that something like that is really happening. 1st, Ferrari never asked RAI so far this season to move from VET’s way and let him past. It happened multiple times at Mercedes tho. 1st time VET was behind RAI… there was NO team request towards RAI… VET simply raced and overtook him. Then overtook RIC. See China race. Something like this never happened at Mercedes this year! Then, dunno if Ferrari took away any win from RAI, VET was simply significantly faster in Monaco and he managed to do the undercut. From a certain point of view it looks like plain racing, Schumacher style. Then, in Hungary, RAI was never in front and it’s highly possible he wouldn’t have managed to pass VET anyway. VER was catching BOT up to 1sec per lap… but couldn’t get even a single real chance of overtaking. So, what was Ferrari supposed to do, ask VET to move away because RAI is 0.5-1sec per lap faster??! Yeah, they told him to hold station, but that doesn’t mean the victory was his if let to race VET.

  5. Racers are always fighting for points, and the fact a racer in the fight for the championship gave up 3 pos is remarkable.

    In general when someone is generous, the universe rewards their generosity. I believe LH just gave a little and over the next 10 races he will get a lot more back. The 3 points won’t even be a point at the end of the season because LH will be a lot farther ahead of SV.

    1. It was VB that was generous. He could have been screwed if LH had been able to do as planned and pass KR. LH’s intention was to not have to give VB back his points but he squandered the opportunity.

  6. Ferrari has enormeous record of sticking to a 1st driver approach. There is zero chance for Raikkonen to win if Seb is behind him

    1. Yet the Merc has even Force India helping them with pit strategy to keep Ferrari back.
      If Vettel was very slow they would have let Kimi race him and take the win.
      Why Hamster didn’t pas them?
      I’d he was slow why Bottas fell 7sec behind?

  7. Yeezy918 (@offdutyrockstar)
    3rd August 2017, 12:44

    No question that Vettel wouldn’t do it, especially in a potentially championship winning season but also Ferrari would never ask it of him, not at this stage of the season anyway as his points advantage is simply too great and that all has to do with Kimi being nowhere for the first quarter of the season. He woke up a bit in Monaco but even in that race, failed to take advantage of the clear air to prevent an undercut.

    Hamilton is all the more accommodating towards Bottas because he hasn’t been on the result of dirty tactics from him yet. Contact, Monaco Q3 incident, cap gate etc it is a very different relationship.

    1. Yeezy918 (@offdutyrockstar)
      3rd August 2017, 12:46

      There’s also the fact that Ferrari and Vettel have not won a championship in quite a while, they will fight tooth and nail for it and the hunger will naturally be much greater to leave nothing on the table. Especially for the sake of ‘sportsmanship’

      1. Further to that, Ferrari has now seen that Mercedes will favour LH, not that this is the first time this season they have seen it. But Hungary confirmed it. Just because LH couldn’t pass KR and decided to give VB back his points doesn’t mean there wasn’t an order to begin with, and a real possibility VB would have been screwed. Certainly even if Ferrari were thinking of moving Kimi ahead for fear of SV backing him into the Mercs, that idea would have been put to rest when they ordered VB to let LH have a go.

        1. @robbie There’s no favouritism in allowing the faster driver to have a go, then give the place back if failing.

          1. Of course there is. LH was handed a chance without having to pass VB legitimately. It could have just as easily worked out that LH passed KR and VB would have lost out. No favouritism would have meant LH would have had to pass VB on merit.

          2. Yes, IT IS! It was increased favouritism. HAM said he’ll give BOT the place back ONLY if he won’t be able to overtake any of the Ferraris. So, right from the start there’re only 50% chances BOT will get his place back.

          3. Further to that, Ferrari has now seen that Mercedes will favour LH

            No all they showed is they will favour the faster driver going for a win, as they have done in the past. Anything else is your own bias.

          4. Well I thought Bottas was employed to make an effort to be ahead of all the other cars, just like every driver should. If for some reason his car or settings doesn’t allow for that, you expect Mercedes to be happy with 9th and 10th, or knock each other off like ForceIndia.

          5. @Martin Yeah let’s see if you can still say that when VB has to continue to give it up for LH.

  8. These situations are not the same.
    In Hungary Hamilton had little chance to pass Bottas without help.
    Yet he was fast enough to drive up to Räikkönen to see if he could profit from Vettel bunching them up.
    It made sense to swap, and the swap was a genuine gift. It was proper conduct to return the favour.

    In Bahrain Bottas was off the pace and Hamilton would probably have passed him anyway; if not on track then by the undercut. But it would be wasteful to wait for the pitstops, losing time to the leaders.
    So it made sense to swap and not give it back. To yield under pressure, then expecting to get it back for free is toxic.

    Rosberg was on a different tire strategy. Also they were each others biggest rivals for the title.
    Lewis knew that letting Nico by would hurt him later on and proved his pace was as least as good by keeping Nico well out of DRS range.
    Nico wasn’t fast enough to pose a threat to anyone else than Lewis. Swapping simply did not make sense.

  9. I still think it makes sense for Vettel to agree to such a “deal”. Imagine a situation where (after all stops have been completed) Hamilton is leading, followed by Vettel on the same strategy, a little quicker but unable to overtake, or a little slower. Räikönnen is third on an alternative strategy, and catching both of them quickly, and has a real chance to win if he can get by Vettel quickly.

    If Vettel refuses the deal, and Räikönnen is not allowed to overtake Vettel, they end up HAM-VET-RÄI, with Vettel losing 7 points in the championship versus Hamilton. However, if Räikönnen manages to pass Hamilton, they end up RÄI-HAM-VET, where Vettel only loses 3 points in the championship versus Hamilton. And if Räikkönen is unable to pass Hamilton, he will let Vettel pass on the last lap, so that Vettel would not be worse of than if the swap is not made. Alternatively, if they don’t have team orders, Räikönnen may be able to overtake Vettel on merit in such a situation, and then not manage to pass Hamilton. He would then not be under the obligation to hand back the place to Vettel, or would have to be asked, causing awkwardness.

    Overall, under such circumstances, it would be irrational for Vettel to not go for such a deal. Only if he truly believes that he has a greater chance overtaking Hamilton than Räikönnen should he reject the deal.

  10. There was undoubtedly an element of playing the long game about Hamilton’s decision

    What has given you such certainty? It is sickening when people try to find a justification for what Hamilton did as if he is a villain unable of doing anything good. Why we try to find a complex explanation for why Hamilton has treated his team mate differently, rather than accepting a much simpler logic: that the dynamics are different only because he has a different team mate?

    1. Sure LH has a different teammate…a compliant one who he would like to have next year too.

    2. @bahman I’m afraid one would call that opinion naive if you don’t believe it was with a future teamorder in mind.

  11. Yes, yes… “Bad” Ferrari use #1 tactics, etc, and pure Mercedes would never stoop so low. Very righteous, if it only were true.

    The truth is that in Budapest, Lewis and Merc asked Bottas to take himself off the title challenge and become a support driver for the remaining season.
    Bottas, on a 1-year contract, and eager to sign an extension had little choice but to accept the “offer”, while he would have been stupid to do so if not under pressure.

    Luckily for him, Lewis never had a chance of overtaking the Ferraris (and Merc should know that – after all Bottas too was lapping 1″ faster than the reds until he caught up with Kimi’s dirty air), because if he had succeded to get past them, Bottas’ season was more or less done for.

    To make it clear: IF Lewis managed to get past the Ferraris (while Bottas couldn’t), the drivers’ title standings would have been: LH-201, SV-195, VB-166.
    That is, Bottas would have a gap of 35 and 29 points to the guys ahead, with the one farther away on the same car!
    As it turned out, with Lewis incapable of getting past and giving the position back, Bottas has 33p to Seb and 19p to Lewis.
    Not only the gaps are smaller, but the guy that is farther away is on a different car, which happens to be somewhat slower than the Merc.

    1. Exactly this, how this is seen as Hamilton being noble defies logic, Mercedes removed Bottas from title contention in Hungary and it was a sign Bottas is not allowed to fight for the title.

  12. By doing what he did, Hamilton not only gained long term bonus points with his teammate, but also showed the team, his competitors and the audience that he is the faster of the two in identical machinery. This is a clever psychological tactic from him in the long term: “I should win, I should have priority and I am the greatest threat” whilst “I’m going to do it fairly”.

    1. Yet you wouldn’t be able to say that had the plan worked as intended and LH had gotten past KR if not SV too. The ‘fairly’ part would not apply. The fact that LH failed doesn’t change that he was handed the opportunity to begin with.

    2. He should start by outqualifying Bottas more regurarly. Also, if not for Verstappens mistake Hamilton would have been trying all race passing two Red Bulls.

      Furthermore Bottas is still within striking distance despite having a DNF to his name already. One DNF for Hamilton could easily mean Bottas will be leading the Mercedes charge. Hamilton might be faster but if he doesn’t become more consistent Vettel or Bottas might very well take it this year.

  13. I would say that it was Bottas who acted most generously by letting Hamilton past in the first place. Hamilton upheld his end of the bargain, because he is maturing, and he also knows that working with his team mate will be in his self-interest as the season unfolds. I like to see this behavior from top drivers, rather than the unsporting nonsense that has been cropping up lately. Mercedes behavior suggests a lack a desperation, which can only be a good indication of how well the team is performing.

    1. Well, they still have a better overall package, don’t they?
      If Vettel ends up winning the title, he’ll have done so in a lesser car. Marginally, maybe, but lesser by all means..

      1. Yeezy918 (@offdutyrockstar)
        3rd August 2017, 14:26

        A lesser car maybe but also a greater gulf between 1st and 2nd driver in terms of talent. Lewis has the harder battle taking this into account.

        1. That’s true.
          If Kimi was on Vettel’s level the title would once again have been an internal Merc battle.

          Strange as it sounds, Ferrari’s strategy of emplying drivers of different calibre has given us a proper title fight this season – so far, at least..

        2. @offdutyrockstar I tend to disagree with that. Hamilton has had the margin over Bottas in every single race with the exception of Hungary. Yes he’s had some issues and that is the reason Bottas is still close. If Hamilton had normal races in Sochi, Monaco and Baku Bottas would be way further down.

          1. @PorscheF1

            Baku, I get it, but, what does “normal” races mean in the case of Sochi and Monaco?
            In both cases Lewis failed to find a set-up that suited him, got squarely beaten by Bottas in qualifying and the races.
            Also, you fail to account for Bottas’ DNF in Spain.

            Cherry-picking, maybe?

          2. Yeezy918 (@offdutyrockstar)
            3rd August 2017, 15:03

            @xtwl Bottas is far more competent than Kimi who is in his 4th year of under performance compared to his teammate now. Bottas has come from a string of podiums in the Williams to immediately set poles and win races at Mercedes. I don’t think there is any comparison tbh.

          3. Yeezy918 (@offdutyrockstar)
            3rd August 2017, 15:20

            Papatango spot on. Lewis may have a margin speed wise at times but Bottas has edged him on merit at the aforementioned tracks and qualified ahead at Hungary, supposedly one of Lewis’s super tracks. He showed that pace in the race but not in qually unfortunately.

    2. 100% agree. Ham did what is NORMAL, nothing special. He could have never pass Bottas otherwise

  14. Nope- anyone remember ‘Multi 21’? Seb doesn’t have it in his DNA, some say narcissistic, others would say a competitive soul- in F1 its the same thing. If he has wrapped up the title he may throw a race to Kimi as thanks for say, Monaco this year, but that’s a big maybe- he is very stats driven.

    Hamilton shocked and impressed me (probably like many) in Hungary giving the place back to Bottas- good form!
    He may be getting a little soft in his old age (poor 31 year old) or may have so much confidence he thinks 3 points wont count- either way, nice work Lewis (I never thought I would say that lol)

    1. I don’t think SV owes KR anything. KR simply hasn’t been competitive consistently enough early on in order to put the math on his side. And he knows it.

      As to LH, I don’t think he is getting soft nor do I think he is that confident. I think he wants to make it look like everything is peachy keen between he and VB so no need to replace VB. The last thing LH wants is FA as a teammate. He thinks by keeping the waters smooth with VB TW might forget that he could have an epic rivalry on the team next year grabbing all the attention and headlines for Mercedes. If TW keeps VB for another year it will be a relative borefest. Exactly what would favour LH, and only LH.

      TW’s options are to risk another year of struggling to keep SV at bay, or to have two WDCs on the team which would maximize their chance of getting back the the good old days of the last three years and shutting everyone out of the top two spots, all the while honouring themselves as racers and the viewing and paying audience by giving them an enthralling pairing, while honouring FA with a competitive ride for his remaining F1 career.

      Sorry there’s me on my FA to Mercedes soapbox again, but until I hear otherwise…:)

      1. I don’t think SV owes KR anything. KR simply hasn’t been competitive consistently enough early on in order to put the math on his side. And he knows it.

        As to LH, I don’t think he is getting soft nor do I think he is that confident. I think he wants to make it look like everything is peachy keen between he and VB so no need to replace VB. The last thing LH wants is FA as a teammate. He thinks by keeping the waters smooth with VB TW might forget that he could have an epic rivalry on the team next year grabbing all the attention and headlines for Mercedes. If TW keeps VB for another year it will be a relative borefest. Exactly what would favour LH, and only LH

        Absolutely right on the button on all counts. Well described and fully agree.

    2. @evilhomer Remember Liegate? HAM doesn’t have it in his DNA to….wait, no, I’d rather not get too farcical :)

      That said, yeah, nice one to Lewis indeed!

    3. Please look up Multi12 that Webber choose to ignore before Vettel ignored Multi 21. You can look this up you know?
      If everybody would know this, it would shed the whole Mulit21 in a different light. I wonder why the (uk) press choose to ingore it? …

      1. @niedle
        Thanks Niedle, I know I can look up Multi 21 but I have no need to, I was watching the whole season live on TV, I don’t need to research it!

        Not sure about UK press and ignoring it to be honest, I am not from the UK. I wasn’t having a crack at Vettel simply saying he doesn’t have it in him…. to be the best they probably shouldn’t should they??

        BTW- The way Webber was treated he had all rights to act how he did in some manners!!

        1. He suggested looking up Multi 12 not Multi 21!

  15. I think Lewis did the sporting thing.
    What puzzled me was that in the after race interviews he mentioned he is not sure if he will get the 3(three) points back.
    He lost 3 (more) points to Seb but he lost 6 to Valtteri. Is he not considering Bottas a title contender?! Why not?!

    Because the way i see it, either Ferrari can keep up with the Merc development and both teams will win races depending on track; and Seb seems more consistently ahead of his team mate so i see him champion.
    Or Mercedes edges away in the later season and then it is between Lewis and Bottas.

    1. Yeezy918 (@offdutyrockstar)
      3rd August 2017, 15:25

      Seb cannot give Lewis points back for sticking to his word, but should the situation be reversed at another track, Bottas can. That’s how I read ‘getting those points back’ and its entirely plausible given Bottas’s strength on street tracks over Lewis so far.

  16. I think LH sees only himself as the title contender at Mercedes. And when that really comes out is when SV is leading a race. The math simply favours SV more at Ferrari between he and KR, and so LH is naturally concerned about that.

    1. Meant as a response to @ianbond001

  17. Stop saying Lewis is a gentleman. Pure speculation. It was agreed before clearly and in public. He could have never passed Bottas otherwise. He gave back what promised. That is not GENTLEMAN, that is NORMALITY. We sometimes forget that those drivers are EMPLOYEES, paid to follow company rules. It would have been outrageous if he HADN’T let Bottas pass.
    Vettel was never asked to let Kimi go, because of many reasons: ferrari hasnt won a Championship in 10 years. Kimi is out of the Championship (he should beat Ricciardo, Bottas, Hamilton and Vettel; No chance). Vettel is the only real contender. Kimi knows and needs a contract for next year. He’s a great sportman who knows his place. So?? what’s the comparison??! Very different situations

  18. I think people are arguing about a situation where the answer is fairly obvious. Bottas has won 2 races and is close enough to Hamilton and Vettel to have an outside chance of the WDC title himself. There is always a chance that Vettel or Hamilton might DNF a crucial race or even take each other out. In each of those scenarios, the main beneficiary would be Bottas and would increase his WDC chances. And since their relative positions made no difference to the WCC situation, Merc did the right thing in swapping their cars at Hungaroring and keep Bottas in the running. If the same situation arose later in the season and Bottas was out of WDC running, Merc would have had no hesitation in ordering him to make room for Hamilton.

    Raikkonen on the other hand, is not only realistically already out of the WDC race, he really has not got the results to indicate that he was ever in it right from the start of the season. It therefore makes sense for Ferrari to maximise Vettel’s WDC chances, especially when the outcome did not affect their WCC position.

  19. @robbie

    The last thing LH wants is FA as a teammate

    . True, and I don’t think ANY driver on the present grid wants to see Alonso in a Merc. Except Alonso himself, of course.

    1. Lol, true!

  20. Despite Kimi getting pole in Monaco, having a good start and making no mistakes, Ferrari still gave Vettel a chance to get ahead of his team mate by means of strategy. By sending Kimi into traffic after the only piststop of the race, Ferrari created the opportunity to allow one of his drivers to overcut the other. In the podium, Vettel celebrated the victory as if he had sealed the championship. That answers the question in the title of this article.

    Also, kudos for mentioning the cases of Reutemann, Arnoux and Pironi :)

    1. Despite Kimi getting pole in Monaco, having a good start and making no mistakes, Ferrari still gave Vettel a chance to get ahead of his team mate by means of strategy.

      Unless you pit both cars on the same lap (which makes no sense), you’re always giving the car behind the chance to get ahead via strategy whether via over or undercut. Here, Vettel did his own “Hammertime” and lapped in the low 1.15s, on tyres that Raikkonen had been lapping in the high 1.16s. Raikkonen didn’t make any mistakes, but his clear air pace was disappointing to say the least.

      1. Of course you don’t pit both cars in the same lap ;)

        Like Hamilton likes to say ‘the leader of the race sets the pace’. Kimi was leading the race in a circuit like Monaco where overtaking is not possible without risking too much, so he only pushed as much as he needed to be in front. He had tried to open a gap during the first laps, but the car behind was also a Ferrari and one with an upgraded Spec 2 engine whereas Kimi was racing with a Spec 1 (he never got the Spec2 and only in Silverstone got the Spec 3 along with Vettel; the failure of his first Spec1 in Bahrain forced him to use another Spec 1 back then, disrupting the scheme for his use of PUs)

        Kimi’s lap times after his pitstop and Vettel’s while he was pushing to execute the overcut were almost identical, the difference lies in the first lap when Kimi rejoined the race and found traffic. The pitwall’s only job in a race with one pitstop was to make sure that Kimi returned to the track in free air and they failed him while allowing Vettel to go for the overcut. Vettel had great pace but without Ferrari opening the door in terms of strategy when calling each driver for their pitstops he wouldn’t have been able to jump his team mate.

        1. @adhyra
          KR lost the race because 1) he failed to build a gap in clear air, and 2) didn’t keep pace in his ultrasofts. If he did build a gap, Vettel wouldn’t have been able to pull off an overcut. If he kept pace in his ultrasofts, Vettel probably wouldn’t have undercut Raikkonen (since the supersofts needed a lap or two to warm up). Instead Kimi’s tyres were done, Vettel’s weren’t, Kimi needed supersofts, Vettel set the race’s fastest lap at the time by far, and the warmup phase helped cost KR the win. Traffic that has to jump out of the way instead of race you is neither here nor there. The situation was made worse by Bottas closing to 2s behind Vettel before the stops, and the Red Bull drivers looking likely to jump Bottas. Raikkonen not having the pace, whether by choice or not, appeared at the time to be putting the 1-2 at jeopardy.

        2. You seem to forget that Vettel also returned into traffic, fortunately for him though the traffic pitted at just the right time to give him that ‘clear air’.

    2. In Monaco Vettel was just plain faster – Raikkonen had the option of when to pit as the leader and he went for the undercut, yet Vettel was so much faster that he would have passed Raikkonen no matter which way he went, overcut or undercut. Raikkonen did a 17.1 the lap before he pitted, and after he pitted, Vettel did a 15.5 and a 15.3 on his still worn tyres.

      People chose to ignore that fact, and dissed up a controversy instead.

      1. @Dewald Nel – absolutely agree.

      2. People also disregard the fact that the team have all the data to decide when to pit their drivers and that they sent Kimi into traffic when he rejoined the race.

        As the leader of the race he was setting the pace that suited him, but after his pitstop and clearing the traffic he really pushed and if you look at his laptimes they are quite similar to Vettel’s, that first lap with traffic made all the difference and that’s where the pitwall failed him.

        Also, Vettel in Monaco was racing with an upgraded Spec 2 PU while Kimi was racing with a Spec 1 with no upgrade.

        FOM didn’t broadcast the team radio of those crucial laps but the Latin channel FoxSports3 got the material and you can hear in the recording how Kimi’s race engineer David Greenwood told him to push like hell once he realised what they were up to on the other side of the garage, but the damage was already done. After watching his team mate get ahead of him when their lap times had been so similar during those defining moments, it’s not a surprise that Kimi began to lose a second per lap, there was nothing to do but saving the engine and driving as slowly as he wished while keeping Ricciardo behind until the finish line.

        1. FOM didn’t broadcast the team radio of those crucial laps but the Latin channel FoxSports3 got the material

          Do you know if this is online anywhere or do you have any details of when and where it was broadcast? Would like to have a listen!

          1. The video aired during “El show de la Formula 1” in FoxSports3 for Latin America on June 12th, the show is shot in Argentina and broadcasted to the rest of the continent through the Fox Sports network. I asked about it in the social media of the show but with no luck. The journalists that host the show are Fernando Tornello (@F1Tornello) and Adrian Puente (@TelemetricoF1). Usually credit goes to SkyF1 for special features but it seems that this video didn’t come from either Sky nor Channel 4.

            The video features the team radio between laps 33 and 39, with Dave Greenwood calling Raikkonen for his pitstop, then Kimi complaining about being put into traffic after rejoining the race, and Riccardo Adami advising Vettel about engine settings and telling him “this is your race”. Then you hear Greenwood telling Kimi to select a similar engine setting and to “push like (bleep)” when he realised what they were up to on the other side of the garage. It ends with Kimi after watching Vettel rejoining the race ahead of him asking “how the (bleep) did it happen?”

            In the video, while you hear the drivers and their engineers, along with the images of the cars from the official broadcast, the lap times of each car are displayed on the lower part of the screen to illustrate the whole thing, but no channel logo was visible.

            I hope you get better luck finding it, it was quite interesting to say the least.

          2. Thanks very much I’ll have a look.

  21. That’s pretty interesting, i think Ferrari should be happy treating him as number 1.

  22. This huge discussion over whether Hamilton did the right thing by doing the right thing is great evidence that F1 is on some other planet. I think it was Niki Lauda who said that only a selfish jerk can become champion. This incident only reinforces that view.

    1. That VET, HAM, RAI, and ALO are all selfish jerks?

      1. That you have to act like one on the track.

  23. The lyricals want to believe that Hamilton did what they did in an entirely disinterested way !!!!!!!
    He only did it, because he knows he may need Valtteri in the rest of the championship ….
    It was the biggest difference for Vettel in the world championship, and we would see if he gave the position.

  24. Well, F1 is about relationships as much as it is about money and being quick / smart. Fernando Alonso should be driving a Mercedes but he is not. Mark Webber’s behaviour at the start of the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix might easily have cost Sebastian Vettel his third world championship title. Michael Schumacher should have defended his position against Vettel at the same race but he did not. And who knows if Vettel could not pass Nico Rosberg at the season finale last year or did not really try to?

    Yes, Hamilton might lose the 2017 world championship because of those three points. But a healthy relationship with his team mate might also help him win more than just one title in the future.

    1. Vettel had the title won already before that, all Michael did was not to put up any resistance against him.

      1. He did not – if the 2 guys ahead of Alonso crashed or DNFd, which could easily have happened, Vettel would have needed a few more places.

  25. Looks like LH is confident in his new teammate enough to know that when it counts he can count on his help. In case of team Red, Kimi doesnt have confidence in team or his teammate and he might just return the same favour end of the day.

  26. Vettel believes only he should be allowed to win races so, NO!

    1. No evidence of that this year, I’m afraid.

  27. The “praises” for Hamilton a are just a bit over the top here. Last race, last season he backed off to try and cause issues with Nico. I suppose that was payback for Nico letting him by at Monoca which utlimatly lead to Hamilton’s win. BTW- those points would have made Hamilton’s antics in the last race completely moot

  28. Personally I think never , atleast not when he is in Ferrari,

    Agreed Vettel is very selfish when it comes to race results, he will not back out, he will not take chances that lets the championship slip by. Consider many last race championship title deciding races, you will notice how the champion wins it by less than 3 points.

    And not just this , even if Vettel felt generous some day (during this year) and gave up a place. He will be the most hated person on earth for Ferrari and the guys at Maranello. He will probably be kicked out of the team.

    Ferrari have been hungry for almost a decade, they want this championship, they are not going to let it slip. They are tired of the comments passed on to them every year by Marchionne. They really want to push this win onto his face !

  29. Somebody is forgetting that Vettel did not request team orders and instead chose to pass Raikkonen on his own merits.

    1. This was in China this year.

    2. That does not fit the narrative hence this spin, it’s funny that what should be debated is the willingness for Mercedes and Hamilton to have Bottas as a doormat.

    3. Agreed. And in Monaco Vettel was just plain faster – Raikkonen had the option of when to pit as the leader and he went for the undercut, yet Vettel was so much faster that he would have passed Raikkonen no matter which way he went, overcut or undercut. Raikkonen did a 17.1 the lap before he pitted, and after he pitted, Vettel did a 15.5 and a 15.3 on his still worn tyres.

      People chose to ignore that fact, and dissed up a controversy instead.

      1. No controversy. Vettel is just plain faster at this stage of their careers unfortunately.

    4. Thank you.

      My thoughts exactly. Seb spent like 9 laps stuck behind Kimi in China but didn’t request for a team order, nor did Ferrari issue one. In the end he overtook Kimi in a proper racing move and then overtook Dan Ric in one of the best overtakes of the season. But still we keep hearing about Ferrari team orders and number one driver etc. in the media, where in reality, Mercedes have issue multiple team orders this year and Ferrari issued none.

      1. Well, in Ferrari’s book there is no need for explicit team orders when strategy can be used to avoid them ;)

        In China Seb overtook Kimi on track by his own merits. Later on the race, while Kimi requested to pit, Ferrari chose to keep him out for several laps while he was struggling with worn tyres and repeting his request, so I’d say that’s what Kimi got for his troubles: a really long stint that won him nothing and a not so subtle message ;)

        Raikkonen is in the delicate position of having a one year contract and is not in the habit of confronting the team before the media, so when he is moved across the board to suit Ferrari’s strategy choice of the day, the team knows where they stand with him. For instance, in Austria his position on the track was used to disrupt Mercedes’ strategies to protect his team mate’s second place and that objective was achieved. Ferrari are entitled to manage their drivers as they please, obviously, but that doesn’t negate the fact that all efforts in the red team in terms of strategy are focused on Vettel and understandably so. Ferrari doesn’t need loud and clear team orders on the radio because they know Kimi will follow whatever strategy they set to try to maximize as much as possible Seb’s results in order to achieve the WDC.

  30. Vettel in a broken Ferrari was leading a train that extended its lead to Bottas to more than 7 seconds, and kept the gap even when the team urged Bottas to stay close for the switch and try to keep Verstappen away.

    Fact is that Hamilton doesn’t mind Bottas getting a few extra points. Bottas is very much like his countryman Kimi, who can perform extremely well in some point and extremely disappointing in others, even in the same race. Keeping the team motivated to develop a better car is in Hamilton’s favor. If Mercedes outdevelops Ferrari in the 2nd part of the season, Bottas would be an easy task for Hamilton to take care of.

  31. He lost nothing that he wouldn’t have had in the first place without the promise of handing the position back.

    That makes it “paying it back”, not paying it forward. If they told Bottas to let him past without the chance to get it back, he would have refused, and Hamilton would’ve been stuck in 4th all of the last stint anyway. People who think he did something saintly here are delusional.

    Also, if Raikkonen was ahead of Vettel in the points standings, or even near him for that matter, he would have a case and Ferrari may act differently – proof of that in 2008 when it became clear Massa was going to mount a bigger challenge than Raikkonen.

    Conversely, if Bottas were as far behind Hamilton as Raikkonen is behind Vettel, he would probably have been asked to move over and as a team player would have understood why – the problem now is that he is in the championship hunt. Any team that does otherwise, probably don’t care about the driver’s championship at all.

    Basically, nothing out of the ordinary or unexpected happened.

  32. Remarcably stupid articole.there is a big diference between the teams. ferrari has the second best car they’re fighting for whatever they can get.mercedes uses team orders just as much as ferrari this season but some people like to brownnose mercedes today and say they sabotage drivers tomorow.

  33. I don’t think Hamilton was paying in advance. The livid wolff punching the table youtube clip shows how cunning Toto is. Speaking to the press Toto supported Ham’s decision, even if it was absolutely not what the team wanted. I’m sure if anybody is thinking of advance payment it’s Toto.
    Ferrari have one way or the other avoided having to resort to team orders, yet the press makes any excuse to use that card as a justification for an unwelcome outcome. Is Vettel ever going to give up on a win for a teammate, very unlikely, but on a similar note to what has happened with the Merc cars, sure, if there’s an actual meaning to that yes, if it’s like that time he refused once in RB, that’s tough luck.

  34. People cite Hungary as a scenario where Hamilton didn’t let Rosberg through. But that was a peculiar race. Mercedes was running a rigid pre race strategy that failed to take into account, race dynamics. They were trying to get Hamilton to finish 5th when 1st or 2nd was a possibility. At that point he was racing Rosberg effectively and they were telling him to give way.

  35. Ferrari would never ask vettel to let kimi by. It just won’t happen unless it is very special circumstances. If vettel is behind kimi then ferrari either moves vettel ahead with pit strategy or just asks kimi to move over. Ferrari have clear number one driver policy. Mercedes puts hamilton first as well but they are not as blatant about it. Let’s not forget bottas has left hamilton by more than once already.

    1. Can you tell me one place where Ferrari asked Kimi to move over? I can’t remember a single team order this year from Ferrari to either Seb or Kimi.

  36. Lots of this and that and not a little antagonism towards LH – it’s fairly obvious that Hamilton respects Bottas far more than he ever respected Rosberg. Can’t blame him. To the ‘Nico outsmarted Lewis’ charge – hah. Beaten flat out two seasons, won third season together only because Lewis had a car failure pretty much every other race or so – outsmarted? How, did Nico have an ally in Lewis’ mechanics to down LH’s car every once in a while?

  37. Could Ferrari do it? is that a joke?

  38. Hamilton has to let Bottas past on the last lap. If he doesn’t, then he will not be given the chance to attack the cars ahead of him when stuck behind Bottas again. Simply, Bottas won’t let him through again (knowing that he won’t get it back). If HAM wants to take points away from Ferrari in the championship fight then he will need an obliging team mate.

    It was either let him through, or not be given a free pass on Valterri again. I think 3 points is a good enough sacrifice for a potential race win in the future.

  39. It was early in the season, but in China Rai did not release Vet to attack Ric, Vet had to overtake both of them, and arguably lost a shot to pressurize Ham for the victory, had he been released by Rai few laps earlier.
    Also, Bot race was compromised in Spain to help Ham overtake Vet. Rai on the other hand, did great to assure for Vet victory in Hungary. In the end, they both got and will get help from their teammates, perhaps Vet gets even steonger boost as Rai is out of the question for WDC.

    1. @caljub Which disappoints me that this article makes no reference to at all. I found that to be respectable of Vettel because Ferrari asked him if he wanted team orders and he said no.

      That went under the radar while what Mercedes did is newsworthy.

    2. Early on Ferrari were giving both drivers an equal opportunity. That’s as it should be. So SV had to pass on his own without order. Now it is half way through the season and the math is not favouring KR. But even KR knows it was up to him to compete and he didn’t. That’s why even though at Monaco people assumed his glum look on the podium was because the team had arranged for SV to come out ahead, it was actually KR being down on himself for not performing better.

  40. I remembered that after the 2007 Brazilian GP there was a post-race investigation on some cars that finished ahead of Hamilton for a breach of fuel regulations. At that time Hamilton said he didn’t want to win the championship in that way.

    I think he’s being consistent with what happened here – he doesn’t want to win the championship with the three points the team took from Bottas to give him. Hence why he agreed to switch places back.

    1. No. LH’s whole intention from the getgo was to be allowed past VB to go after KR and SV. Just because LH squandered the opportunity and couldn’t pass KR doesn’t mean the intention all along wasn’t to leave VB in his dust.

    2. I don’t want to hear about it if Hamilton loses championship by 1 or 2 points…
      With first corner collisions and mechanical failures in play as a reality, forecasting expected results is pure fantasy.
      Points are points. Very generous of Hamilton, seemingly now.

  41. Hamilton ‘paid it forward’ to his team mate but could Vettel do the same?

    In 1 word – NO! Ferrari is not a Team for 2 Drivers.
    Them always have a Horse and a Donkey.
    It’s sad for Kimi, but it looks like he doesn’t mind…

  42. Hamilton has not become altruist.

    Since the happenning with Rosberg Mercedes informed it was a one off episode…

    Hamilton simply could not repeat the «one off episode» without serious damage on his relation with Mercedes.

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