PLAY NICE OR ELSE: Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has told drivers Nico Rosberg (right) and Lewis Hamilton they must obey team orders - even if they appear to be “irrational”. Image: AP / Antonio Calanni
LONDON, England - Mercedes' title-fighting Fformula 1 drivers have been told to do as they're told for the rest of the 2014 racing season.
Mercedes moved to play down Lewis Hamilton's defiance on July 27 at the 2014 Hungarian GP while accepting that he was right to refuse to let Nico Rosberg past.
Team boss Toto Wolff said: "Nico never got close enough to Lewis to make the move and we were ultimately comfortable with the decision Lewis made to hold position."
TEAM A PRIORITY
In an official interview, Wolff added that the pair "will continue to be free to race" for the 2014 Drivers' title for the rest of the season - adding that "the priority as a team is always to give ourselves the best chance of winning the race - no matter which driver is fighting for it".
After an analysis in the days since the Budapest controversy Mercedes reserved the right to issue similar team orders for the eight remaining races of the 2014 season.
Austria's APA news agency reported that Wolff had met fellow bosses Niki Lauda and Paddy Lowe since the Hungarian GP and had "long" phone conversations with Hamilton and Rosberg. The conclusion, Wolff told APA, was that "if Paddy says something on the radio, this is followed even if at that moment it appears irrational to the drivers".
The report said Rosberg and Hamilton had agreed to the clarified 'rules of engagement'.
Wolff continued: "Our agreement from the beginning of the season was that the other car should not be disturbed if it is on another strategy."
In a situation such as Hungary, where Rosberg never came close enough to Hamilton to mount a potential overtaking move, was different.
Wolff said: "No one should have to come off the gas. What happened (in Hungary) has happened now but whenever there are problems, then at least we must learn as much as possible from them."