19 April 2013
Hamilton: Team orders came as a surprise
Lewis Hamilton says he has no intention of putting Mercedes into a situation where it may have to break its 'no team orders' vow.
The Mercedes F1 team may have decided not issue team orders at any future races this season, but Lewis Hamilton insists that he would rather not put the team in the position where it might have to consider them.
The Briton was 'allowed' to claim third place in the recent Malaysian Grand Prix after team-mate Nico Rosberg was told to hold station, despite the German believing that he could have lapped faster. The order came in the same race as the now infamous 'Multi21' affair at Red Bull, and prompted both teams to subsequently declare that there would be no further attempts to dictate the finishing order of their cars, but Hamilton insists that he has no desire to see a repeat.
“I haven't been in that position for a long time and, obviously, it came as a surprise,” he told the official F1 website on the eve of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, “I tell you, it is not the greatest of experiences.
“After the race, as we sat down and talked, I understood the situation and now I feel a lot more positive about it, but also we must make sure that we are never in such a position again.
“I feel that I am fully a team player [but], of course, when you are driving and are in the position that Nico was in, he had to put his own ego to one side. Even for me, my ego was affected by it because my team-mate was quicker than me at the point, and that is something a driver never wants to see. It was a win-lose, win-lose situation.”
Mercedes' early season form helped cast the spotlight on the team orders situation at Sepang, and Hamilton admits that he hadn't expected to be running quite as strongly as he is, having added to his Malaysian podium with pole and another third place in China last weekend. Although he claimed in Shanghai that the team still has work to do if it is to compete with the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari on a regular basis, he is also pleased to be a contender.
“I could see [before I signed] that Mercedes were en route to making some very positive changes, that they were really, really determined to turn things around,” he revealed, “Of course, I didn't know how good it would be and, to be honest, I never expected it to be as good as it is now. I thought it would be a slow but steady improvement - but it is way faster than I expected.
“They took a step back and tried to analyse everything and move things into the right position. The car has just been on a positive curve since they changed the wind tunnel, since they made all these changes within the last half year, and they've been improving at a very serious rate.
“Second place is the next position [to aim for]. One step at a time - I don't want to shoot straight at P1 but, of course, if it comes, it comes. I am not saying 'we have to win', [but] if we move forward - a second place and then a first - that would be fantastic.
“My target for this weekend is to finish higher than last weekend, and all signals suggest that we can do it. I feel very positive.”
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