Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2016

Hamilton won’t change his approach after Mercedes discussions

2016 Austrian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he intends to carry on racing as he did before after Mercedes warned its drivers not to collide again following the Austrian Grand Prix.

He and team mate Nico Rosberg were given “greater deterrents to contact” according to Mercedes following their last-lap collision at the Red Bull Ring.

However during today’s FIA press conference at Silverstone Hamilton said: “In all honesty our destiny has always been in our hands so it doesn’t really change anything.”

“We’re still able to race which is a positive, no team rules, orders, whatever it’s called, which I think is great for the fans. So I think everyone should be excited.”

Asked whether Mercedes’ deterrents were “scary” Hamilton jokily replied: “I guess I should say yes”.

Start, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2015
Hamilton didn’t rule out more tough moves
Another journalist asked Hamilton if he would be prepared to obey team orders, citing the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix as an example of him not doing so. “You’ve got to let it go, it was a couple of years ago,” Hamilton replied.

“I would, that’s my job, that’s what I get paid to do. So that’s what we agreed today, it’s what’s in our agreement. If you go back to 2014 and you listen to the manuscript you’ll understand I didn’t say ‘no’. I just said I wouldn’t get in the way. And he didn’t get close.”

The world champion wouldn’t be drawn on whether he was now forbidden from making forceful moves such as those he used on his team mate at Suzuka and the Circuit of the Americas last year.

“Unfortunately everything that’s been said is private and confidential,” he said. “But we’re still able to race. Obviously in all those races I was – the stewards deemed me racing so we, I would still race like that.”

Hamilton said he supports his team’s decision not to impose further team orders and said he would do the same himself in their position. “I would want them to race, that’s for sure, I wouldn’t bring in team orders. Because racing is why I’m here and why we’d be there. It’s to see the guys race.”

“I’d probably be even more understand-able that when you have two cars racing first and second there are going to be time out of 60 races together – I don’t know if it’s five collisions, I don’t know how many collisions we’ve had, but it’s a small amount compared to the number of successful races we’ve had and one-twos we’ve had.”

His last-lap victory was booed by some at the Austrian Grand Prix following the race, but Hamilton suggested some had been unaware about the nature of the incident at turn tow with Rosberg and had formed the wrong impression.

“Someone mentioned to me that some of the fans didn’t see everything that happened and also someone said that I ‘rammed’ Nico off so I’m understand if maybe that was the first reaction.”

“Whether some of them still feel the same way it doesn’t really make a big difference,” he added. “This weekend the cheers will make those boos so small.”

2016 Austrian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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45 comments on “Hamilton won’t change his approach after Mercedes discussions”

  1. Lets hope this weekend is another smash derby, we the fans want it :-)

  2. The evidence suggests it’s not him that needs to change his approach.

    1. Yeah. Rosberg needs to hone his skills of pushing another driver off the track. Hamilton does so much more carefully – just a slightly wider line on the exits which he can claim to have been understeer when it never was.

      Though I have to say neither Rosberg nor Hamilton was afraid to simply turn in on the other if they were at a disadvantageous position on the outside. Rosberg did so in Spa 2014, Austin 2015 and Montreal 2016 – bouncing off of Hamilton’s wheels in the latter two instances – while Hamilton did so last weekend, bouncing off onto the tarmac run-off as well. If the two accept that the guy on the inside has the advantage and still try to turn in like the other is not there, it will inevitably lead to more collisions.

      I’m not blaming them though, even though this is not respectful racing for ages now (neither leaves space for the other ever), it is still a fine psychological battle, a game of chicken – who blinks first. If one blinks at all. As of right now, neither of them blinked and they literally clashed during their last three runs.

      1. “which he can claim to have been understeer when it never was.”

        He doesn’t need to claim it when we can see it with our own eyes.

    2. And what is your “evidence”?

  3. I’m probably biased, but I think that Hamilton by and large has always raced within the rules, i.e. running people wide on the exit of corners has been allowed for decades (although not very polite). Rosberg on the other hand has occasionally been very sly, for example Spa and Monaco were both ridiculous. It’s the non-admission of guilt, treating you and I as fools that grates the most. The latest escapade in Austria was shades of Maldonado.

    The thing is, I couldn’t actually imagine Hamilton driving in such a sinister way… very aggressive, yes, but not underhand. That to me is the difference. At the start of the season I actually wanted Vettel to win the championship because of Hamilton’s off-track antics more than anything else, but I feel the ‘anything but Rosberg’ is the approach to take now in light of his current driving and attitude.

    1. From the Regs:
      27.8 Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are not permitted.
      This sounds to me that running people wide on exit (or otherwise) is not legal. The Regs are so open to interpretation though. It seems we’re left with individual stewards applying their understanding of racing ethics instead of the “letter of the law”. This leads to inconsistencies in rulings and frustrations among fans.

      1. @asherway

        “Sums up my thoughts exactly.”

        Though I understand what John H is looking at, I agree that it doesn’t matter if it’s entry or exit. You can call Hamilton’s approach ‘controlled aggression.’ He’s every bit as much in the wrong – accepting the ‘you always have to leavah the space’ philosophy – as Rosberg; he’s just not putting it out for everyone to see; he’s doing in subtly, only slightly deviating from the racing line. Non-professionals wouldn’t even notice and even fewer would be able to tell it from the outside that he was not understeering at all in those cases; that it was just as much a deliberate squeeze as Rosberg’s – only he did so in a less spectacular way.

      2. That only applies, at the exit from the corner IF the car on the outside is alongside or ahead. In the cases where Rosberg has left the track because of Hamilton’s manoeuvres, it’s because he was insufficiently alongside and he had the option to back-off but didn’t.
        In Austria although Rosberg had the inside line he was behind, braked too late or not hard enough (there is nothing except hearsay that he had brake problems) and he turned too late and not enough, and Hamilton left him acres of room and turned at the last possible moment.

        1. @w-k I see nothing in the regulations that makes that distinction.

          1. @Mike are you blind mate?

            27.8 Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are not permitted.

            MAGIC KEY WORDS READ FOR YOU….
            “deliberate crowding of a car” >>> if you are on the proper racing line and going on the normal racing line is accepted as disrupting that will put yourself in danger by skipping apex or unsettle the car and cause a crash… thats why almost everyone does this out of a corner and not get penalized as it is accepted NORMAL DRIVING LINE

            “abnormal change of direction” as in previous paragraph, this one is for straights! which ROS did in for example Bahrain a few years ago to Alo and Ham, and in Spain to Ham this year… However Rules not very clear about this as you are permitted one change of direction it is not deemed abnormal for Ros! Ham case this year was you dont normally massively move to the sides when someone is faster and along side you… which Ros did in Spain and not penalized… many people got penalized for exact moves!

          2. @mysticus Hang on, I’ll check.

            No, not blind.

            But if someone is, say, half a car length behind you, on the out side and you run to the edge of the track. That would be, “deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track”.

            I see nothing in the rule, which suggest that it matters where on the track they are.

          3. @Mike “That would be, “deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track”.”

            You just miss the point of an established and consistent agreement by all, esp FIA, what is normal and what is not… Also, even in Ros’s case, he tries to establish an excuse by resorting to the comment I repeated. He considered himself on the racing line which he thought that gave him the right to defend it at all costs!

            It is an established and acknowledged fact. If you are watching racing, you would know what i mean.

          4. @mysticus “If you are watching racing, you would know what i mean.”

            You’re right, I only wander in here by accident.

          5. Apologies then,my mistake for assuming you were watching F1 for long enough…

      3. @asherway I think that regulation is to avoid that happening on the straights although agreed it’s open to interpretation. What I would say is the phrase “or any other abnormal…” suggesting the “deliberate crowding” is also within that category (which following the racing line on corner exit is not).

        Agreed about the interpretation, but Hamilton and others have been doing it for years and never received a penalty for it… so I guess there is some consistency there of sorts.

        1. @john-h @asherway Yes. The regulations could have been worded a bit better, but they are still perfectly clear. Crowding a car off the track is regarded as deliberate when it constitutes an abnormal change in direction (the words ‘any other’ are unequivocal). An abnormal change of direction is taken as one which is not consistent with the normal racing line for that part of the track.

          1. Exactly. Hence why no driver is ever penalised for taking the racing line. Perhaps clarification with regards exit of corners could be made (for example, how far a car needs to be alongside to be granted a car width), although what constitutes a ‘corner’ can also be subject to interpretation!

      4. @asherway Would you rather the rules were applied by a computer?

        A human element in adjudication is essential, applying the ‘spirit’ of a rule, with a passion for racing and not just a rigid collection of scripted conditions. Applied proportionate to circumstances, taking into account everything ‘leading up to’ an incident.

        1. OmarR-Pepper
          7th July 2016, 23:14

          @psynrg I would. I mean, if there is telemetry, why not using it to determine if a driver could have made a better turn. It’s not only Hamilton and Rosberg, but every time they 2 get closer, the cars end up damaged. I don’t buy that thing that if the damage is done to a driver of the same team, the punishment must be softer and let the team boss fix his guys. Nico should have been strongly penalized for what he did in Austria, not just 10 seconds that mean nothing in the end. They need to be discouraged to end up being the new Schum or the new Maldonado. That’s not racing, that’t T-boning the rival, and that’s one of the most dangerous things to do, as they can make the other car roll upside down, exposing the head to serious danger. I don’t want to see another driver in a comma or dying just because “it’s entertaining”. They can race strongly, but there’s no need to be a bully and smash each other.
          And for the record, I usually don’t defend Lewis, but I just can’t get how Rosberg acted without sporstmanship last Sunday.

        2. @psynrg – I don’t really mind who or what applies the rules. Other sports use computers. I just think it would be nice if the rules were applied consistently. Isn’t that what the rule book is for?

          I’m not sure what the “spirit” of the rule I mentioned is… If it’s so obvious, and can be explained so simply in an online comments section, why not just write it into the Regs directly?

          Track limits is another one. It’s pretty clearly written in the Regs that you can’t exceed track limits, yet drivers do it all the time. Actually it would be pretty cool if we had hawk-eye for that!

          Rosberg’s reprimand is another. Drivers limp back to the pits without a front wing all the time.

          These inconsistencies, for me, just challenge the integrity of the sport.

          1. He got the repremand for NOT going into the pits. He stayed out with a damaged car to finish the lap. Had there been two laps to go there is no way it would have been acceptable to continue wth out coming into the pits.

    2. Andy (@andybantam)
      7th July 2016, 17:42

      @john-h

      Sums up my thoughts exactly.

  4. I read somewhere that the announcer at the circuit was blaming lewis for the incident during commentary thats why the trackside fans booed him.

  5. I love all the bashing and crashing from the Mercedes guys, it makes the race more exciting. I think however that Hamilton is the better driver and will always beat ROS to a WDC.

    1. Unless merc don’t want him to have the wdc

  6. ColdFly F1 (@)
    7th July 2016, 17:48

    BTW – great picture

  7. Rosberg is never going to win a WDC with HAM as a teammate. If his goal is to be WDC then he needs to leave and bet on a team that might develop a car to beat Merc. If his goal is to rack race wins and be the driver with most wins while not winning WDC then he can stay at Merc.

    1. Where would he go? I’d say he’s not faster than Vettel and Ferrari would implement orders in a heart beat. I don’t think he’s fast than the RB pair or Alonso so his prospects of being the number 1 or at least equal to his team mate at another top team don’t look good.

  8. I can’t help but wonder, was it same sort deterrents added to Rosbergs contract in 2014 after Spa incident?

  9. It is really funny that the British press is so in denial and apparently not aware of some juicy details.
    In Spain after the race Toto called both drivers first lap nutcases to a close friend, because both of them took too much risk in the first lap.
    Dieter Zetsche who attended the race, made it very clear to Toto that he was not amused and told Toto to make sure his drivers never again made such fools of themselves and even more important, never ever jeopardize the reputation of the Mercedes brand again. Not all board members of Mercedes do support the F1 program, so it was like a shot in his foot.

    In Austria Rosberg made a mistake in the final lap and then Hamilton was all over him and took again too much risk, instead of staying on the outside and so avoiding a collision, he turned to the inside and Rosberg turned deliberately to the outside and they collided. Toto now really boiled over and called both his drivers brainless in public, without putting the blame solely on Rosberg.
    Why brainless, Hamilton was way too aggressive at the wrong time, when he had used his brain he would have anticipated that Rosberg was already struggling with his brakes for a while. In the next corner he could have made the overtake easily without any hassle and still bring home a one-two for the team. He would have been praised for his tactics and Rosberg blamed for his antics. Now it was Hamilton who also had to deal with the grievances of Toto and in the background with the annoyance of the rest of the Mercedes organization too.
    Don’t get me wrong, Hamilton is still with his car and his personal performances in a league of his own and will win the title if he keeps his head together.
    But will the bosses still be thrilled about it in the same way like when he won his first title or are they already considering a new less controversial line up for 2018 or even for 2017?
    Of course Rosberg was brain dead when he turned to the outside, he should have settled for 2nd place, but because he dislikes Hamilton so much, he switched off his brain completely and tried to ruin the race of Hamilton without contemplating the risks attached for himself in the short and the long term. If Berger can still close a deal for a Rosberg contract for next year, it will be a miracle.

    1. Your logic is totally flawed- I can some up my response- THIS IS RACING. Maybe you should look up and try to understand racing 101. Regarding “Hamilton didn’t leave to much room”. Look at this image http://i.eurosport.com/2016/07/04/1888493-39765700-2560-1440.jpg?w=1050- Hamilton went as wide as possible, he is nearly at the edge of the track and left the whole corner to Rosberg. Any further and he may as well “pull a Brexit” as another humorous commentor pointed out. Frankly, this issue has been discussed at length and if you still think it’s Hamilton’s fault then the less said the better.

      1. OmarR-Pepper
        7th July 2016, 23:18

        your link doesn’t work.

          1. @greenflag
            I think it’s certainly true that both drivers could have avoided it.

      2. My memory of it was they were much closer to the line when Hamilton turned down on Keke. Your picture almost makes Ham look like the bad guy.

    2. What is this crap. You are a nut case.

    3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      8th July 2016, 8:03

      @auria I think you’re wrong about Austria. What’s so striking to me is how much room Hamilton gave Rosberg. I don’t think there’s any driver who would have taken that line, the correct thing to do would have been to leave about 1.5 car widths on the inside, giving the other car plenty of room without ruining your own apex speed. Hamilton gave Rosberg so much space he looked to have lost the corner anyway, Rosberg should have taken his normal line and exited ahead of Hamilton. But Rosberg was so fixated on Hamilton that he didn’t bother taking the corner until Hamilton turned in.

      The way Hamilton’s racing Rosberg I think he’s decided that Rosberg will prefer to crash both cars out than be overtaken.

    4. @auria I agree Toto seemed to blame both drives in Austria – I can only hope that looking at the evidence, and what the stewards decided, the team has realised that was wrong. The fact that they decided to still allow the drivers to race gives me hope that’s the case, after telling both of them to always give each other room; as Hamilton clearly did in Austria, and Rosberg should have done, by just turning in a bit more like his normal line.

      Anyway, what you are suggesting is that Hamilton shouldn’t have attacked in the penultimate lap, even though the guy in front of him, main rival for the WDC, just made a mistake into turn 1 which allowed him to get alongside. I am sure that would have been seen as spoiling the race by many people. Don’t we want to see drivers race? Or only when our favourite driver is the one to get out ahead?

    1. Next time they crash into each other, I’d like to Mercedes suspend both of them, and bring other drivers in for a race. The car is good enough to win with other drivers.

      1. OmarR-Pepper
        7th July 2016, 23:20

        @formulales naaah, they won’t want anybody to replace them. They won’t want anybody saying that they keep winning just for the car.
        Or maybe as a brand that’s exactly what they want. Bring in Carmen Jorda and Mazepin. If she wins, they can say “Even a doomy can win in our cars”.

        1. OmarR-Pepper
          7th July 2016, 23:21

          Oops, a dummy hahahha

      2. Rich (@richiechaks)
        8th July 2016, 7:56

        Why would they be doing Ferrari and Redbull a favour? It makes no sense.

      3. Will Merc do a Red Bull and swap HAM/ ROS with Pascal Wehrlein

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