Lewis Hamilton says that he has no intention of reining in his competitive instinct after Mercedes allowed its two drivers to continue to fight over the 2016 F1 world title.
The world champion team announced on the eve of the British Grand Prix that is had backed away from threats to impose team orders
on Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg after their third clash in as many races saw the Briton take a come-from-behind win in Austria last weekend, while Rosberg limped home fourth with a damaged W07.
Team boss Toto Wolff initially called the incident 'brainless' and considered imposing restrictions on his drivers in a bid to prevent any further embarrassment, but ultimately pleased F1 fans – and Hamilton – by deciding to continue with the team's 'free to race' policy.
Hamilton, who heads to his home race this weekend trailing Rosberg by eleven points, insisted that strengthened 'rules of engagement' hinted at by Thursday's Mercedes statement
did little to alter the way the two drivers went racing, but refused to disclose too many details, although he insisted that he would comply with team orders should they be issued.
“In all honesty, I think destiny has always been in our own hands, so that doesn't really change anything,” he noted, “I would follow [team orders], that's my job, it's what I get paid to do and that's what we agreed today, [but] we're still able to race, which is a positive. No team orders is great for the fans, so everyone should be excited.”
Admitting that he should confirm that the 'deterrents' apparently put in place by the Three Pointed Star in a bid to avert future on-track contact were 'scary', the three-time world champion said he didn't feel that he would be fettered in his attempts to overturn his points deficit in a bid for title number four.
“Unfortunately, everything that has been said is private and confidential and I'm not allowed to… but we're still able to race,” he confirmed, “In all of those other races [notably Austin and Suzuka 2015 which featured Mercedes contact
], the stewards deemed it racing, so I'll still race like that.”
Asked whether, if he ever became a team principal, he might understand the dilemma facing Wolff, Hamilton insisted that team orders would be furthest from his mind.
“I think I'd probably be in a better position because I'm a racing driver, so I know what you would do and what I would do on a race track and what I would not,” he explained, “I would want [the drivers] to race, that's for sure. I wouldn't bring in team orders because racing is why I'm here and why I would be there – to watch them race. I'd probably understand that when you have two cars that are racing first and second there are going to be times, out of 60 races together, there's going to be five collisions … I don't know how many we've had, but it's a small amount compared to the amount of successful races and one-twos we've had!”