Analysis: Hamilton's statement means it's each man for himself

Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:12am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton made a mistake in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix and it almost cost him dear.

His biggest error, however, was not in disobeying controversial team orders but pushing too hard on the very first lap with cold brakes after starting from the pitlane.

The Briton was lucky his Mercedes only brushed the barriers in the resulting spin, causing no damage to the car, rather than ending his race there and then.

It would also have been costly had he carried out instructions over the radio two thirds of the way through the race not to hold up German team mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg. But he did not do that.

To do otherwise would have been unfair in the circumstances and damaging to his own title hopes, even if Mercedes might have gone on to win. Hamilton knew it and, ultimately, the team recognized it too.

"From my point of view, Lewis was right," said retired triple champion Niki Lauda, now the team's non-executive chairman.

Some will argue that since Formula One is a team sport, the team comes first and orders must be obeyed. The simple answer to that is yes, but not always.

As an extreme case, think back to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix when Brazilian Nelson Piquet junior was ordered by his Renault team to crash deliberately into a wall to bring out the safety car and help Fernando Alonso win.   Continued...

Third placed Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates after the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit, near Budapest July 27, 2014.  REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh