Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2017

Letting Bottas past was ‘tough’ but ‘I’m a man of my word’ – Hamilton

2017 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton admitted it was difficult to sacrifice three points in the world championship by letting his team mate past in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver handed third place to Valtteri Bottas on the final lap of the Hungarian Grand Prix after Bottas had let him by earlier on when Hamilton was capable of lapping quicker.

“It’s tough in the championship but I’m a man of my word,” said Hamilton. “I said have him let me by and if I can’t overtake him then, you know. Slowing down seven seconds was tough and I was nervous about losing the place to Verstappen but fortunately I didn’t.”

Problems with the Mercedes radio made it difficult for Hamilton to communicate with his team earlier in the race. “It wasn’t perfect but it came back at the end,” he admitted. “I think we managed it the best way we could.”

Hamilton ran behind Bottas in the first half of the race but was the quicker of the two after the pit stops. His radio problems made it difficult to arrange the original exchange of positions as the pair closed on the leading Ferraris.

“I was thinking maybe [Ferrari] were worried about the tyres not going the distance so maybe they were going slow and then speed up later,” he explained. “But it wasn’t the case.”

“And I was pushing and I had all this pace and I was stuck behind Valtteri and I couldn’t tell the team that I had all this pace and to let me go and catch them up. So I wasted, I don’t know how many laps I was behind, but my tyres took a real beating behind him.”

Hamilton was unsuccessful in his attempt to pass either of the Ferraris, which was why he ended up letting Bottas through again. “Once I did get by I gave it everything,” he said.

“Until I got stuck behind a backmarker and went on some rubber on the outside of the track and then the tyres started to drop after that.”

2017 Hungarian 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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  • 86 comments on “Letting Bottas past was ‘tough’ but ‘I’m a man of my word’ – Hamilton”

    1. Fair play, he went up in my estimation with this.

      1. Lewis is far from perfect as a driver and a man, but his move today, letting Bottas pass, as he promised, shows he is a much more mature and decent person compared to Seb, who does not respect team agreements. Remember “multi 21”?

        Lewis might even lose the championship for the points he returned to Valteri today, but he proved to be a man of his word.

        1. @svianna How convenient to pick out the most obvious team call of the century. Come on! Not to put any negativity on this great gesture of Hamilton, but remember Abu Dhabi 2016? Hamilton knows he’s publicly being booed and more people are starting to dislike him, that’s most likely the main reason of this gesture.

          1. Do you really think that is representative? If that were the case, at the racetrack today, we had a lot of Kimi fans. You would have thought Kimi is the most adored F1 driver in the world.

            What we saw today was an example of dignity and honor. Seb, on the other hand has yet to produce something similar.

          2. Yes– I remember Paddy Lowe saying afterwards that he refused to repeat the call to Lewis, because, in his words, “I will look a complete pillock if I do that again”, and that the strategy guy had gotten the call wrong:

            “James [Vowles] who sits to my right, is actually the most fantastic strategist. But it didn’t compute with him that the driver wasn’t going at the right speed. So he was struggling with that.”

            “And then it was ‘well, make him speed up otherwise the graph shows we’ll lose’. So the conversation I was having was ‘don’t you think once he sees a red car in the mirror he’ll put the throttle in a bit harder?’ So we were having our own debates. But I put a marker down.”

            Just like Hungary 2014 when the team asked Hamilton to let Rosberg past– Rosberg never closed to within a second, which made it ridiculous to ask to be let past.

            There’s a right time, and a wrong time, to use team orders– Hungary 2014 and Abu Dhabi 2016 were the wrong time. Monaco 2016 and Hungary 2017 were the right time. The fact that Hamilton was willing to dump 7 seconds to let Bottas back past is remarkable, and suggests that Hamilton has a great deal of respect for Bottas.

            It also means that later in the season, if Hamilton needs those three points back, Bottas should be more willing to help his teammate out, assuming Hamilton’s within three points of the championship.

          3. @addveriety

            most obvious team call of the century

            To be fair that title goes to Hockenheim 2010

      2. Yep, he went up in my estimation too & made me smile. Impressively sporting of Hamilton.

      3. Valtteri is not getting anywhere near enough credit here. Valtteri still has a shot at the championship, yet demonstrably letting Lewis through could have been a much bigger loss that Lewis’ three points. Had Lewis got past Kimi, then Seb would have been likely also – in each case Lewis was not obliged to allow Valtteri to pass again.

        Valtteri was the one out on a limb here, he didn’t have to yield to Lewis, yet he chose to follow team orders.

        I appreciate Lewis giving the place back, the right move indeed, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that this was all enabled by Valtteri. Sure he was slower than Lewis at that point of the race, but so was Seb to Kimi.

        1. Valtteri did his part well. No doubt about that. But the points difference between Bottas and Hamilton is a bit misleading. Of the races where Bottas has out-qualified Lewis, the only one where he had an outright pace advantage was Russia. Even in Austria where Bottas won, he was struggling mightily at the end despite running in clean air all race. Only race I can think of where he was a bit faster was Australia in the second stint. This isn’t the first time Bottas has let Lewis through this season: remember Bahrain?

          On the other hand, when Lewis has dominated a weekend he has DOMINATED a weekend if you catch my drift. He’s been unlucky that his issues and mistakes have generally come on circuits where he cannot overtake easily, Austria, Monaco and Hungary. And then there’s Baku which probably cost him the lead of this championship before the break.

          Vettel and Bottas have had their misfortunes and mistakes on tracks where it is easier to overtake. Bottas in Spain and Silverstone, Vettel in Canada. Lewis was also fortunate with the timing of the VSC in Spain rubbing off 7s of Seb’s lead. But he still had to make the pass on the track and he pulled a gap thereafter.

          No doubt Vettel has been the most consistent of the three, hence his championship lead, but he’s also had the car to be consistent. Whenever Lewis and Bottas have both had the car to be deliver, Lewis almost always comes out on top if they both don’t have any issues.

        2. Thumbs up for the whole team, both drivers included. They all made a deal and everybody respected it.

          1. Jake (@jagged-jake)
            31st July 2017, 16:34

            I think Kimi is ignored too….he was super fast, but he did not overtake his struggling team mate and grab a well deserved win…

    2. Would suck if he loses the championship by 2 points lol

    3. Kudos to Lewis, absolutely a mensch move on his part. And fair play to Bottas as well, for trusting the team and Lewis

      I hope other drivers can learn from this (Verstappen comes to mind, but there are others). So many drivers/teams seem to make a big drama out of this. If a world champion in a razor thin fight for the championship, watching his main rival heading for a big haul of points, can do this. Any other driver on the grid can.

      1. Like dirty hamilton in last race of 2016. Nice comparison, hamilton to hamilton in team play.

        1. Dirty hamilton? Last race of 2016? Not sure what incident you mean….

          1. The imaginary one where Hamilton refused to let Rosberg past, and cost Rosberg the championship.

            In reality, even Rosberg said it was the only option Hamilton had for having a chance at the championship, and that he did it very well.

            But many so-called F1 fans have difficult reconciling their opinions of Hamilton with reality.

        2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          31st July 2017, 0:27

          If you think his drive in Abu Dhabi 2016 was “dirty”, then you know nothing about motor racing… or competitive sports for that matter.

    4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      30th July 2017, 16:18

      It just feels that Hamilton likes and respects Bottas quite a bit more than Rosberg. I think they are a great team. Both let each other past with no fuss.

      1. probably because he trusts Bottas to not park his car and bring out the safety car if he’s ahead in Q3.

        1. What are you talking about?

        2. Here we go again.

        3. Guess you don’t remember Rosberg letting Hamilton past during the 2016 race as soon as he was asked, then.

          Selective memory.

      2. Lewis loves fair racing with no “cheats” or cheeky tactics. Rosberg used illegal engine mode in Bahrain 2014. Although Lewis did payback to him in Spain 2014. Then he does a mistake at monaco ruining others’ laps. Even though I believe it was fine and ok. Then, Nico forgets to turn the steering wheel and Spa 2014… I mean… Lewis accepts beaten fair and square when everything is equal but not when there are cheeky and “cheats”.

        1. Exactly. Lewis is the best racing driver ever, truly blessed amazing human being who never brake checks or drives unfair while rosberg is a pathetic loser (sarcasm)

          1. Sadly, I wouldn’t be able to tell that was sarcasm if you hadn’t put the note at the end!

            1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
              30th July 2017, 21:53

              Haha! I read the start of socksolid’s comment and instantly thought it was another fan that praises Hamilton far too much so I stopped reading it after the first line! It was only your comment that got me to read the rest and find the word sarcasm in brackets…. Silly me :D

          2. Brake check? When did he do that?

      3. He respected Rosberg too, remember how he said Rosberg deserved the podium after Malaysia 2013. And the genuine happiness he had of securing McLaren’s 1-2 in Malaysian GP 2007. Both relationships soured as the championship became more important and the teammate became the most important rival.

        Trust me if the title becomes Hamilton vs Bottas, Hamilton will take no prisoners.

    5. Let’s hope 44 will lose the WDC by those 2 points…

      1. @EagleMk1

        Your Hamilton hatred is consistently strong, but at least you have upgraded Lewis Hamilton to ’44’ from ‘that specimen’. Whatever next, perhaps even using his name!?

        1. Some specimens are well below my hatred

          1. @EagleMk1

            Oh dear, I thought you had improved your attitude a bit but I was wrong!

            1. @EagleMk1 sounds just like another sad racist who looks at F1 through peculiar tinted glasses that show’s only his perverted version of reality … to call anybody a “specimen” is disgusting and insulting to any member of the human race, but unfortunately we have to suffer some of these people on this site.

              It does not matter if you love or loathe Hamilton, there is such a thing as respect for another human being, I suggest @EagleMk1 either gets a life or just goes away and watches some other sport that he may actually know something about.

            2. Oh, the race card was missing, go collect your brownie points (btw i’m nonwhite)

            3. EagleMK1……..
              You don’t need to be white to be racist!

          2. EagleMk1 you sound like a brain dead football supporter. Lacking the brain power to work out that without rivals there would be no sport. I once pointed that out to a Chelsea supporter (thug), he was stunned into silence. We can only hope you too are silenced.

        2. rafael martins
          31st July 2017, 21:21

          @EagleMk1 I’m calling “44” as “Luck for Timo Glock exists”… Brazilian fan sad feelings about “44”… The history could be different for your UK hero.

    6. It was actually nice to see the teamwork today. Overtaking was clearly very tricky and I think Bottas knew he didn’t have enough pace to challenge Kimi. I always dislike the ” let me past” calls from drivers but it seems Hamilton really did have some amazing pace in that car. A good call from the team because realistically Hamilton wouldn’t have been able to get past Bottas and it would have been pointless to just drive around as they were for the final 20 laps, especially with Max being very quick in the end.

    7. It was actually nice to see the teamwork today. Overtaking was clearly very tricky and I think Bottas knew he didn’t have enough pace to challenge Kimi. I always dislike the ” let me past” calls from drivers but it seems Hamilton really did have some amazing pace in that car. A good call from the team because realistically Hamilton wouldn’t have been able to get past Bottas and it would have been pointless to just drive around as they were for the final 20 laps, especially with Max being very quick in the end.

    8. You could say I’m not a Lewis fan, but respect where it is due.

      Seb wouldn’t have done this, no way.

      1. Possibly, but I doubt anyone expected Lewis to do it today, he would not have done it last year.

      2. @johnnik I respect Lewis for doing so, as a human being. I expected him to hold the place as a killer F1 racer though, which he also is.

    9. HAM has certainly earned himself the moral victory this weekend with his good sportsmanship, which contrasts markedly with VET’s Baku temper tantrum.

      That being said, you know how many world championship points a moral victory is worth.

      HAM probably made the right call, though, as he may need BOT’s help later in the season, so it would’ve been unwise to poison the relationship over 3 points right now.

    10. People think ham did nice teamwork.. but it was bottas first. Bottas was the real gentleman, he could have did what drivers like verstappen do and say ‘let him pass me racing on track’ hamilton gave back what ‘he did not deserve’ in this particular race.

      1. +1 Bottas was in a difficult position – he lacked pace on the Soft tyres.

      2. James Allen said something along the likes of: most teams who give that instruction to let a driver by to attack the guys ahead, tell the guy who has let his teammate through(BOT in this case) that he has to keep within X seconds for his teammate to give the position back. Clearly BOT wouldn’t have been able to put in the laps Ferrari and Lewis were doing and with the traffic too in such a short track, it was virtually impossible for him to keep up with the leading trio. In case a driver falls behind the X seconds of the driver who was let through then that position does not have to be given back. That’s why even the team strategist told Lewis thank you for slowing down 7s and letting two backmarkers through for Bottas to catch up. That’s why even Bottas said he would have understood if Lewis didn’t give the position up because he had fallen so far off the pace. It’s what happened in Bahrain with the two of them when Bottas couldn’t keep up with Lewis after letting him through.

    11. Kudos to him! It was not the greatest move championship-wise but he fairest move I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe someone know of other examples of fairness like that in f1 history? It doesn’t happen often if it’s that risky, he really could have lost the place to Verstappen.

      1. On the other side he never let Rosberg go past at the same venue back in 2014 because “he would have lost points to Nico”. Guess he doesn’t consider Bottas as a threat this year.

        1. You’re forgetting Monaco, Lewis hadn’t. Rosberg cheated at Monaco, he was never going to get any favours after that.

    12. Not a Lewis fan .. but, total respect that he kept his word. It shows the amount of respect that VB and LH have towards each other. This wouldn’t have happened last year with the tension between NR and LH in spite of LH getting the advantage in Monaco when Nico let him pass.

    13. It’s things like this where they could lose the WDC though. Ferrari clearly used Raikkonen to cover Vettel from behind while Mercedes keep trying to be “fair” and lose their lead driver points.

    14. I do respect Hamilton for keeping his word but surely more fuss should be made for Bottas who took the first step in trusting the team and played ball.

    15. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      30th July 2017, 17:46

      Extremely nice gesture from Lewis considering Bottas put him behind Ricciardo and Verstappen at the start of the race.

      I cannot believe that Bottas did NOT attack Kimi but instead blocked Lewis allowing the Red Bulls to swamp him.

      It’s a tough race for Lewis – he’s fighting Bottas, Vettel, Kimi, and Mercedes. Vettel’s just fighting Lewis…

      1. Lennard Mascini (@)
        31st July 2017, 12:47

        sorry what?!? I hope that was sarcasm.

    16. 1st and foremost this was all down to Bottas being a gentleman. He is not far behind Hamilton on points. Amazing to put spin on this that Lewis is such a gentleman. He had to let him back past otherwise it was unforgivable. Well done Bottas. Lewis only did what he had to.

      1. Well done to Mercedes team actually. They all should be proud. They ALL, including drivers, handled a difficult situation fairly well.

    17. Pathetic these team calls. These guys are F1 drivers, just race. Had he done that and he would have had a couple more points for the wdc. I don’t remember a era where teams were so afraid of letting their drivers race

      1. I guess you never saw the Schumacher years, or when Piquet Junior deliberately crashed thereby bringing out a safety car enabling the just pitted Alonso (team mate) to win the Singapore Grand Prix 2008, (Alonso allegedly knew nothing of the plan that his manager and team manager arranged with Piquet jnr)?

        1. @9chris9 Unfortunately I did saw all of that. But those at least were critized and few and far between. Not exactly what we have seen these few years

          1. Sorry but team orders were prolific up until 2002 when they were effectively outlawed, I believe the “ban” on team orders as such was lifted in 2010.

            Ferrari have always played the “team orders” game and are doing it again now, the reason Kimi has not had 2 wins this year is because Ferrari unlike Mercedes do not seem to want to let their drivers race each other, god forbid that Seb should be beaten by his team mate in a straight race.

            1. The reason Kimi has not had 2 wins this year is because Ferrari unlike Mercedes do not seem to want to let their drivers race each other, god forbid that Seb should be beaten by his team mate in a straight race.

              @grumpy The reason Kimi didn’t win Monaco is because he wasn’t able to pull away from Vettel with clear air, then Vettel went 1.8s quicker in his first clear air lap after Kimi pitted, proving he had more life left in the tyres. KR didn’t have any car issues like SV did yesterday. Vettel was beaten by Kimi just 2 weeks ago by the way.

            2. I’m not sure Ferrari really care about the WCC as much as they do about the WDC. They’ll be given a bigger share of the money than the team that wins the WCC anyway. So they put it all into the WDC. That’s why they’ve had a #1 driver and a second driver who’s job it is to do what is best for the lead driver.

      2. @johnmilk

        I don’t remember a era where teams were so afraid of letting their drivers race

        Well, not the exact same but there was http://en.espn.co.uk/f1/motorsport/story/12351.html

        Oh and AT 2002 was part of an era

    18. Respect to Lewis but it’s the right thing to do.

    19. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
      30th July 2017, 19:20

      I ll have to admit, although i don’t like Hamilton, his move did impress me in a positive way.He seems to be more relaxed having Bottas as an teammate, despite the stability Valtteri has shown & the fact that he could be a possible thread for the championship. Good on him

    20. Got very little time for Hamilton, but have to say this was an honourable move and one I wouldn’t expect from any F1 driver fighting for the championship.

      I only hope he doesn’t lose it by three or fewer points cos the Hamfannies would go NUTS.

    21. Naive from Mercedes.
      They think they will outrun Ferrari and they might do it, but the their chances are much better if they choose one to support…
      Today was good to the headlines, but it may comeback to bite them at the end of the season.

      1. After 10/21 races Bottas is 22 points behind Hamilton with one DNF. Both of them have still good chances for the championship. Hamilton did not lose any points today. Bottas gave the position to Hamilton and Hamilton gave it back. Both of them were fair to each other and to the team. Trust between teammates is worth more than the cheated 3 points.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          30th July 2017, 22:08

          I think there are 20 races this year. I wouldn’t call them cheated points. Maybe more team-order points :D But I think judging that Kimi looked quicker than Vettel with wonky steering and he couldn’t get past the whole race, I think it will have been very unlikely that Hamilton will have got past Bottas without team orders. It was well worth the team doing what they did though. Great of Bottas to let Hamilton have a go and really nice of Hamilton to give the place back at the end. These 2 drivers do seem to work well as team players.

          I do indeed think Bottas could still possibly win the championship. Rosberg won it with Hamilton having one more retirement than him. If Hamilton has one next race and Bottas comes 2nd that race, he’ll be 1 point behind Hamilton. If he wins, he’ll be 6 points ahead. Then if Hamilton gets another retirement, so 1 more than Bottas as it is the other way round at the moment, things could look very different indeed. And Vettel has had no DNFs either. So if a bit of luck goes Bottas’s way, he certainly has his chances this year. Still think it is more likely to be one of the other 2. Probably Vettel.

    22. So what some people here find honorable was not Bottas letting his team mate by (losing any chance of a win or advancing from third should a Ferrari or both have issues), but Hamilton giving the place back as per the deal?

      1. Well, his pace was bad. He falled way behind when Lewis passed him and wasn’t keeping up with Ferrari before.

    23. Regardless of what Hamilton does, there are some here who can never see any good in him, and not being able to help themselves, must continue to find a way to put him down.
      Rather pathetic really, when you think about it.

      1. @stubbornswiss
        I agree, and it says rather more about them than it does about Hamilton…

    24. It is true that if Lewis were to lose the title by 2 points, this rather gentlemanly act today would be called into question, but I think, on balance, he did the right thing today.

      Stirling Moss lost a title by effectively diddling himself out of some points at a hearing which gave the WDC to Mike Hawthorne, an inferior driver by far. Stirling lost the title, but what he did was ‘the right thing to do’. The way he acted was worth more than a title in the eyes of some. Plenty of people these days would not understand that at all, and that’s fine.

      What Lewis did today was not quite in the same league as Stirling, but nonetheless, in the ultra competitive world of modern F1, I thought it was honourable and refreshing. Even though I like Seb, I certainly could not imagine him doing the same.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        31st July 2017, 15:44

        @paulguitar I agree. I have a feeling it will end up costing him the championship and I’m okay with that because even if he loses, it probably won’t be Lewis’s fault. Probably some headrest, communication, engine issue or a safety car incident or yellow flags or a combination of a dozen factors that Lewis can’t control or correct over the course of a season.

        It’s nice to know that in the end Lewis ultimately decides who wins the championship as he did in 2016 with the decision to pass Rosberg in Spain and Austria and in 2008 in Brazil.

        IMO, you have to applaud a driver who will make the tough choice of losing a championship while sticking to his creed of racing properly and fairly and to continue to do so even though he could have won more championships and won them easily were it not for issues outside of his control. He chose to fall even further behind Vettel in points again and opened himself to falling even more points behind Max in so doing.

        In contrast, Vettel was driving with Kimi the “Iceman” as his DRS wingman, which in itself was hilarious even without the top gun comparison.

        1. Oh please. You could not lay it on any thicker. Yes only Vettel had a wingman. Let’s forget that LH needed an order to get by VB and had he been able to get past KR, VB would have been a bigger wingman than KR was to SV, and the talk would be that VB is now LH’s number two. It is certainly what I was thinking until LH let VB have his spot back. It still is a reality anyway, that they ordered LH past VB which could have easily resulted in VB being set further back in the WDC.

          If Ferrari had any notion at all to let KR past SV in case his steering got worse and they had to at least keep the 25 points from LH, that would have ended as soon as VB was ordered to let LH past. All Ferrari would have known at the time was LH was being favoured at Mercedes. It is secondary that LH failed to pass KR. The primary intention was there.

    25. I was pleasantly surprised. Good on him.

    26. So we are all applauding Hamilton now? Despite refusing to abide by team orders at previous Hungarian GP’s?

      2007 he ignored the pre-planned Q3 running order and refused to return to position behind Alonso.
      2014 he refused Rosberg the opportunity to attack Ricciardo and Alonso even though he was out of position due to a Q1 exit.

      He still has a long way to go to earn respect.

      1. So we are all applauding Hamilton now? Despite refusing to abide by team orders at previous Hungarian GP’s?

        Now? Yes, why not.

      2. Disingenuous @kazinho. There is probably nothing he could do that could earn your respect. Not that it costs him any sleep, mind.

        As for his effectively waiting 7+ seconds for BOT at the finish line with VER bearing down on them, it was typical HAM in the sense that it wasn’t too smart. Most racers would have taken that podium and looked for other less risky ways of returning the favour later on in the season.

    27. If Vettel had no problem the two Ferraris would have been gone and Lewis would have had to fight is way past Bottas, and he might have done it eventually and won those 3 points.
      If Ferrari had let Kimi past Vettel, then I’m sure Hamilton would have got past Vettel too and would now be leading the WDC. However, Ferrari knew that aswell so there was no way they would allow Kimi to overtake Vettel.

      1. Yeah once Ferrari saw Mercedes favour LH with their order on VB there was no way they were going to let KR get past SV, but if they absolutely had to if SV’s problem worsened then they were at least going to try to keep the 25 points from LH.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        1st August 2017, 14:08

        It’s becoming an engineered championship – driving and particularly racing are becoming less and less relevant. On the bright side the cars are big, fast, and mean looking, there’s just no meat in them and F1 is supposed to be a steakhouse:)

        You have to kill someone to pass them or get killed passing them, as Alonso pointed out.

    28. Fortunately for HAM, VET will win the WDC by a much wider margin. Even BOT will beat him by more than these 3 points this year. All good. HAM has no clue what to do with the W08 and is currently wasting a race-winning car.

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