Williams Formula 1 technical chief Paddy Lowe believes there is “never a good answer” to swapping drivers on-track like former team Mercedes did in the Hungarian Grand Prix, but respects the honouring of the in-race deal by Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton allowed Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas past at the final corner in Hungary after previously being waved by in order to try and attack the Ferrari drivers ahead, sticking to his promise that he would allow the Finn to re-pass if he could not make up any positions.

Hamilton and Mercedes were praised for the sporting move, but the three additional points lost to Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel in the driver’s championship raised concerns in some corners that it could come back to cost both parties at the end of the season.

“There’s never a good answer to that one,” Lowe, who worked with Mercedes and Hamilton between 2013 and 2016.

“In any team, you want to keep it clear to both drivers that they have the opportunity to win the championship. That keeps them motivated in their own right to win races, which is what you need for the team result.

“The worst example of that was 2007 at McLaren where we had two drivers who missed the drivers’ championship by one point. It doesn’t get worse than that.”

Despite the possible implications, Lowe felt Mercedes and Hamilton would be remembered more strongly for the gesture.

“I think in the end it’s about how you do it, not what you do. I think drivers get remembered for the way they perform as sportsmen and not necessarily their absolute results,” Lowe said.

“I think that’s a good bit of thinking for any race driver or any sportsman at all actually. And we can pick out examples in this sport.

“There are many drivers who we consider greats that didn’t win that many races or championships, and that’s because of the way they behaved. Stirling Moss is an example of that.

“I think that’s the right line in the end if you’re trying to make the right judgement about these things.”


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