Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement may have left his Mercedes team in a pickle as they go on the hunt for someone strong enough to replace him, but for Lewis Hamilton, the situation the Brackley based squad now finds themselves in means that any possible sanctions from the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have gone right out the window.
In a bid to secure his fourth world crown, Hamilton spent the last few laps driving a lot slower than he could have in an attempt to back Rosberg into the charging Ferrari and Red Bulls in the hope they would overtake and knock Rosberg off the podium.
In doing so Hamilton defied direct team orders from the pit wall to speed up, something Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said after the race would need to be addressed.
Now, as they focus on a much bigger issue, Rosberg’s replacement, any discord over Abu Dhabi has now been put firmly in the past….
“When I told Lewis to speed up, the next debate on the pitwall came from Toto, 'tell him again, he hasn’t done it!' ”Mercedes Executive Director Paddy Lowe explained at the Autosport Awards. “So, I said ‘no, because then I will look like a complete pillock if I do that again!’
“James who sits to my right is actually the most fantastic strategist, but it didn’t compute with him that the driver wasn’t going at the right speed. So he was struggling with that, and said ‘make him speed up or the graph shows we will lose. So the conversation I was having, was, 'don’t you think once he sees the red car in the mirror he might put the throttle down a bit harder?' So we were having our own debates. I put a marker down.”
“I think it was a great race result, a great ending not only for the team but for the sport as a whole that will have really brought new fans to the sport. So it was a fantastic result even though I told Lewis to speed up. I think it was fine what happened. It is worth remembering in Monaco that we told Nico to let Lewis past and that was my other team instruction of the year, and he did that within one corner. So that is just for a bit of balance that is worth thinking about it.”