Lewis Hamilton says he was “very shocked” that Mercedes asked him to move over for team-mate Nico Rosberg during the Hungarian Grand Prix.
With Rosberg still to make a pit stop and running on soft tyres, Hamilton – on mediums and going to the end – was asked to allow Rosberg through but failed to do so. The incident prompted Rosberg to ask on the radio why Hamilton wasn't moving over, and after making his second stop the championship leader was unable to pass his team-mate in the closing laps.
Having finished third and taken three points out of Rosberg's lead as a result, Hamilton said he was never going to allow his team-mate through and couldn't believe the team had asked him to do so.
“I was in the same race as him,” Hamilton said. “Just because he had one more stop than me doesn't mean I wasn't in the same race as him. And naturally if I'd have let him past, he would have had the opportunity to pull away and when he does pit, he's going to come back and overtake me, so I was very, very shocked that the team would ask me to do that, to be able to better his position.
“But to be honest, he didn't get close enough to overtake but I was never going to lift off and lose ground to Fernando or Daniel to enable him to have a better race. So that was a bit strange. But we've got a long way to go, moving forwards still and, as I said, thankfully I'm still in that battle, so I hope we can come away stronger.”
And Hamilton said it was a bittersweet result for him to climb all the way to third place having started from the pit lane after his car caught fire in qualifying.
“Obviously this is damage limitation. On one hand I'm very grateful to have been able to get through with all the difficulties I've had this weekend, obviously yesterday and the first lap. I can't believe how things have gone but to be able to come back through … the safety cars obviously helped quite a lot.
“But naturally I look at the fact that I had the pace this weekend; I lost quite a lot of opportunistic points. Still, we're there in the fight, fortunately I staved off my team-mates, which means I'm still there or thereabouts.”