It has been revealed courtesy of footage from the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul just over a week ago that Lewis Hamilton was informed by McLaren-Mercedes that his team-mate and title-winning successor Jenson Button would not
attempt to pass him – shortly before his fellow Briton did just that.
Whilst the contentious coming-together between Red Bull Racing team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber understandably stole the lion's share of the headlines in Turkey, the wheel-to-wheel duel between Hamilton and Button in the closing stages of the race could just as easily have ended in tears.
The duo rubbed wheels as they tussled over the top spot – to the evident consternation of McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, with the general consensus within the squad being that in response to RBR's salutary lesson, the battle for victory had been called off.
Both drivers had been instructed by the team to save fuel, but it has since transpired that whilst Hamilton was given a target lap time – one that the 25-year-old opined was in hindsight 'definitely a bit too slow' – Button was not, which might have been the catalyst for the subsequent 'miscommunication' that led to the pair briefly flirting with disaster.
Moreover, in a video released on the official F1 website, Hamilton can be heard telling his team over his pit-to-car radio that 'Jenson is closing in on me...if I back off is Jenson going to pass me or not?' to which he was told in no uncertain terms by his race engineer Andy Latham: “No, Lewis, no.”
“It was tricky in those closing laps, because we knew we were pretty marginal on fuel, but the team lets us race and that's exactly what we did,” explained Button.
Relations between Hamilton and Button appeared a little strained in the immediate aftermath of the race and up on the podium, with the former overheard asking the latter what the move had all been about. Both have since summed it up as a simple racing incident.