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What did Merc think of Hamilton's 'dirty tactics'

The duel in the desert was how the finale of the 2016 Formula One World Championship was billed.

In truth, there was no real duel, the battle had already been won.

Whilst Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton arrived in Abu Dhabi level on nine Grand Prix victories, Hamilton's lack of reliability and Rosberg's whole season without issues was the difference.

Rosberg knew that all he had to do was finish on the podium and Hamilton knew that winning the race was simply not enough.

On the grid before the race, everyone assumed that Hamilton would try to back-up Rosberg into a fight with the Red Bull's and Ferrari's, this was his only available tactic.

This notion polarised the watching Formula One public, anyone who doesn't like Hamilton was obviously against the idea, anyone supporting him knew it was his only chance.

The other spanner in the works was Mercedes, seemingly insistent on not wanting any interference for the championship and wanting their drivers to play the team game and finish one-two. This coming despite Mercedes already clinching the Formula One constructors championship and a one-two finish in the drivers championship.

This again polarised the audience who want to watch Motor Racing drivers actually race and saw Mercedes interference as frustrating.

So when Mercedes asked Hamilton to speed up and the Brit unsurprisingly decided against this, the fuse was lit.

In the end, Hamilton was unable to push Rosberg back far enough into the clutches of either the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel or the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the Mercedes pair finished one-two with Rosberg crowned champion.

Hamilton is supposedly in line for a disciplinary which could be as little as a fine, or as much as a race suspension or even sacking [summary of the papers by Sky Sports].

But did Mercedes really give an impression that they would come down hard on Hamilton?

The final instruction for Hamilton to speed up came from Mercedes chief Paddy Lowe. Hamilton's response was simply “I'm not bothered if I win or lose this race.” as his focus was trying in vein to win a world championship.

So what did Lowe really think?

“This is what makes Formula 1 exciting in a way, we are constructed to have inevitable conflicts between what a team wants and what two individual drivers want, They are two guys who are team players but in the end they each wanna win.

“Our main objective is to win the race and we didn’t like the look of a red car coming though at a far higher pace than our team.”
he told motorsport.com.

So in public at least, Lowe remained pretty much on the fence?

What about Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who often speaks with his heart on his sleeve and is more open on his emotions?

“One half of me says with 1,500 people at Brackley/Brixworth, and 300,000 at Daimler, that creates values and you have to respect those values. Undermining a structure in public means you’re putting yourself before the team – that’s very simple. Anarchy doesn’t work in any team or any company.

“The other half says it was his only chance of winning the championship at that stage and maybe you cannot demand a racing driver that is one of, if not the best out there, a real guard dog in the car, to comply in a situation where his instincts did not make him comply.

“It’s about finding a solution to solve the problem in the future because a precedent has been set. Let me sleep over that and come up with a solution.”
again this is quoted by motorsport.com.

So Wolff pretty much just joined Lowe on that Mercedes branded fence.

How about Nico Rosberg? How did his Mercedes team-mate view things? Speaking to Sky Sports he said: 'I can understand the team asking him to speed up, and me also asking, but I can understand his point too. It is the world championship and I understand he wanted to try something,'

Not only did Rosberg understand Hamilton's tactics, he even went as far as congratulating Hamilton on how he implemented them.

'He did it really, really well because there was no chance to overtake him at the same time. In the first sector he was fast and flat-out so I could never got close for a pass and then he slowed down in the rest of the track and the others could come back.

'Lewis is an unbelievable competitor, one of the best of all time, [in the] longest season ever I beat him in unbelievably tough conditions.'


The winter is long, perhaps Mercedes will deal with things internally and we shall never know how Hamilton was punished, if he's punished at all.








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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday November 29 2016

Time: 1:00PM

 

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