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Title battle sizzles in Hungary thriller

2014-07-27 17:49

MERC’S FEUDING DRIVERS: Mercedes' Nico Rosberg (right) and Lewis Hamilton's relationship continues to deteriorate following a team-order controversy at the 2014 Hungarian GP. Image: AFP / Mark Thompson.

BUDAPEST, Hungary - A thriller at the Hungaroring has thrown fuel on the simmering relations of Mercedes' championship rivals and team mates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

During qualifying on Saturday (July 26), his charred race car in the background, Lewis Hamilton had expected his 14-point deficit to blow out well beyond 20 by the end of the 2014 Hungarian GP.

Actually, Nico Rosberg's lead has shrunk to 11, with his easy control of the race ending with an untimely pace-car period and his progress then thwarted when Hamilton refused to obey a repeated team order to let the sister car past.

‘WHY ISN’T HE LETTING ME THROUGH?’

Rosberg, on a different strategy to Hamilton, asked on the radio: "Why is he not letting me through?" Hamilton, who later squeezed Rosberg off the road in a last-lap battle, said: "I'm not slowing down for Nico.”

Former F1 driver Allan McNish said on BBC radio: "I would like to be a fly on the wall in the Mercedes debrief room after the Rosberg-Hamilton episode."

Rosberg, albeit highly diplomatic afterwards, at least admitted he was "annoyed" with the last-lap incident.

PUNDITS ON HAMILTON’S SIDE

It all sounds like a recipe for a new Monaco-style relationship breakdown between the duo but this time Hamilton has the pundits on his side. David Coulthard asked: "Why should he slow down when he is racing? I think that's a tough call by the team there, in fact it's an unfair call."

Like Rosberg, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was also playing diplomat, insisting Mercedes would "analyse" the reasons Hamilton turned down the clear team order. Rosberg also preferred to keep any fight behind closed doors: "We need to discuss internally, that's better."

Hamilton, notably "grumpy" behind the podium according to interviewer Martin Brundle, justified his defiance on the basis that he "would have lost points to Nico".

Hamilton told British broadcaster Sky: "He would have beaten me. I don't really want to comment, I'm sure it (the team order) was for the right reasons but I'm grateful I took the right decision for myself.

"I was racing for myself, not for him."

An ecstatic Daniel Ricciardo continued his flawless first season for Red Bull with a second win, ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Do you think Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton should’ve allowed team mate Nico Rosberg to overtake? Have your say in our home page voting booth!

Results from the 2014Hungarian GP at the Hungaroring:
Full race report
Qualifying
First practice
Second practice
Third practice
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