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Hamilton unhappy benefiting from team orders

Lewis Hamilton netted a podium in Malaysia but he needed team orders to help him stave off Nico Rosberg - which he's still not comfortable about.
With most of the furore about team orders at the 2013 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix focussing on the Red Bull drivers, Mercedes' own use of pit wall directives at Sepang has largely flown under the radar in the intervening weeks. But that doesn't mean that Lewis Hamilton is any happier with the situation.

"For days afterwards, I didn't feel good about it," the British driver said on Friday in his regular column for BBC Sport. "I felt very awkward about the situation - I even emailed my team principal Ross Brawn a couple of times telling him I didn't feel very good about it.

"It was an awkward position for me because I don't like to be gifted anything," he added. "Every point, every position I have ever raced for in my whole life I have earned."

Hamilton said that he'd been on both sides of team order directives in the past and understood both the pluses and minuses. As the number two McLaren driver in 2007 he'd been called upon to defer to Fernando Alonso which had "got a little bit in the way of my opportunity through the year."

But the following year he'd been the beneficiary when his new team mate Heikki Kovalainen let him past at Hockenheim. "I was fighting for the championship at the time. I was quicker than Heikki and was coming through the field, so he let me past because he knew it was what was best for the team and best for me."

While clearly not thrilled by team orders in either direction, Hamilton admitted that there is a time and a place for them: "When you have team orders you have to be able to rationalise it, hope it is for the right reasons, and stick to it."

In Mercedes' case in Malaysia, Hamilton's early fight with the Red Bulls at the front caused him to burn up fuel faster than expected than left him at a real risk of running dry before the end and having to retire, which would have been to the detriment of the team as well as himself. That meant team boss Ross Brawn made the call over the radio and insisted both Hamilton and his team mate Nico Rosberg held position to the end.

"For at least three-quarters of that race I had earned that position," Hamilton insisted. "[But] during that last little part it felt weird that Nico was all over me and then we were told to hold position. It didn't feel real for me.

"The way I move on is that I will work my backside off to make sure I am not in that position again," he added.

Hamilton pointed out that he and Jenson Button had been in a similar position in 2010 at Turkey, when Hamilton had been in fuel-saving mode only to be surprised by an overtaking move from his team mate just as Sebastian Vettel had dived past Mark Webber at Malaysia.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
12.04.2013- Free Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
12.04.2013- Free Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
12.04.2013- Free Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
12.04.2013- Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04
George Russell, Mercedes junior programme, [Credit: Mercedes]
Kevin Magnussen - Haas F1 Team [credit: Haas F1 Team]
Valtteri Bottas, Nico Rosberg
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
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Nico Hulkenberg - Renault Sport F1
Renault Formula One Team, launch date, [Credit: Renault F1]
Nigel Mansell - McLaren-Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
Lewis Hamilton tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]

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Really? - Unregistered

April 12, 2013 11:36 AM

Hmmm... looking at your comments Tealeaf, I would have to say there exists a pure, unmitigated strain of Hamilton hatred in you. I don't know why but it exists all the same. However you have to give credit to Lewis. Whether he means it or not, it does take a bit of mindset to own up in front of the entire watching crowd. I'm no huge fan of him myself, but it isn't hard to see he has matured quite significantly. We all deserve second chances. Why should high performance sportsmen be any different? Calm down and enjoy the season with an open mind.

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