BUDAPEST, Hungary - Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton has hit back at suggestions he was wrong to ignore team orders during the 2014 Hungarian GP on July 27... and team chairman Niki Lauda has insisted that Hamilton was was "right" and his team "wrong".
FROM PITS TO THIRD: Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (right) poses with 2014 Hungarian GP winner Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. It’s worth mentioning that Hamilton started from the pits to finish third! Image: AP / Darko Bandic
Hamilton was told to let team mate Nico Rosberg overtake him, thought the German was nowhere near close enough to do so.
Lauda said: "Lewis ignored it because he remembered before the season that we said they could fight freely against each other. That's why he did the right thing."
'WEAKENED THE TEAM'
Not everyone is convinced.
The headline in the major German daily Welt claims Mercedes was the victim of "Hamilton's ego-show". "With his disobedience Hamilton weakened the authority of the team leadership and provoked team mate Nico Rosberg for a comparatively low reward."
Team boss Toto Wolff and Rosberg agreed after the race that Hamilton's defiance had cost Mercedes a win but according to Hamilton that was not the point; he insisted he was "hired to race". (And he did say over the team radio that if Rosberg got close enough he would let him pass. - Ed.)
Hamilton said: "It was not questioning authority. I am hired to be me and race my heart out. I did not cost Nico a win. I was racing against him. Why would I be concerned for him? I don't think I was being ruthless. I was not even being bloody-minded. I was doing my job.
"I tried my hardest to be ahead and I don't feel as though I was obligated to help."
FRICTION AT MERCEDES
John Watson, an F1 driver turned commentator, thought the problem was home-grown: "Is Toto Wolff more interested in projecting himself? Does he really have the authority?
"Paddy Lowe is a fantastic guy but he is not the person to deal with this. Lauda is a very clever man, but I don't know what authority he has. The one person who could kick ass in that team is the person they let go - Ross Brawn."
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