BUDAPEST: Mercedes are to review their team orders policy after Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, with team chief Niki Lauda backing Lewis Hamilton for ignoring instructions to allow Nico Rosberg to overtake.
Hamilton went on to finish third and trim teammate Rosberg’s lead in the championship from 14 points to 11 in a race won by Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull.
Rosberg, who started on pole and had a different strategy, was a fuming fourth.
According to Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, they can both expect to be disturbed at the beach during the sport’s August break by calls to discuss a new protocol for managing their duel for the drivers’ crown.
“At the beginning of the season, it is easy to say these are the rules and this is how we are going to do it, but now it is clear — these two are fighting for the world championship,” explained Wolff.
“Maybe we have come to a point where what we had at the beginning of the season doesn’t function anymore, because we cannot ask either driver to give up positions or jeopardise their own campaign.”
Wolff spoke after Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda had supported Hamilton’s decision not to obey repeated requests to allow Rosberg.
“The team was under enormous stress because the race was a very difficult one, there is no question,” said Lauda, a three-time winner of the drivers’ championship.
“This race, with the safety car at the beginning and the wet conditions, was a completely different race. So every minute, you had to decide something different.
“In this stress, the team told Hamilton he should let Rosberg by because he was on softer tyres and has to come in anyway. If he [Rosberg] had been in the DRS position, he [Hamilton] would have let him by.
“But Rosberg never got that close. Therefore, I do understand that Hamilton said ‘Why? Why should I stop now in the middle of the circuit to let my team colleague by?’”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2014.
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