Mercedes won’t ‘prioritise’ win for Hamilton in season finale

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Mercedes will not prioritise efforts to avoid a first win-less season for Lewis Hamilton this weekend after his team mate scored a breakthrough victory for them on Sunday.

Hamilton has never completed an F1 season without scoring a victory since he entered the sport in 2007. Mercedes had gone win-less this year until George Russell triumphed at Interlagos last weekend.

But Mercedes won’t make a special effort at Yas Marina to ensure Hamilton avoids ending the season win-less, team principal Toto Wolff has said.

“I think that Lewis doesn’t need any prioritisation and it’s not what he ever would want,” said Wolff. “This record of winning a race in every single season is less of a priority for him, it’s more that we’re getting the car back to where it can be and we are racing for more race victories next year and hopefully for a championship.”

As they neared the end of their 11-month win drought on Sunday, Mercedes resisted any temptation to call off the fight between their drivers in the closing stages of the race, as Hamilton pressed on in pursuit of Russell. “As a team, we always stood for free racing,” said Wolff.

“We have never done otherwise unless a driver is mathematically not in contention anymore for a championship and the other one is. So we were actually looking forward to them racing on par with the same tyre and we discussed it this morning in the strategy meeting.”

Towards the end of Sunday’s race Russell asked whether he and Hamilton were still fighting each other. He said he was not entirely surprised to learn Hamilton was still allowed to pressure him for the win.

“We’ve always said that we’re free to race,” said Russell. “Toto and the team have put a lot of faith and trust in Lewis and I and we’ve obviously had a few side-by-side moments throughout this year and it has always been respectful and I think we’ve got a huge amount of respect for one another.

“I just wanted to understand the position. I knew how important that one-two was for the team. So if we weren’t racing, it was kind of like, ‘bring the car home’. If we were racing, it was a quali lap every single lap and you’re risking every corner, because the laps just had to be perfect. So obviously I’m happy to have won it that way.”

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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25 comments on “Mercedes won’t ‘prioritise’ win for Hamilton in season finale”

  1. “As a team, we always stood for free racing,” said Wolff. “We have never done otherwise unless a driver is mathematically not in contention anymore for a championship and the other one is.

    Coming to 2018 Russian Grand Prix Bottas was 110 points behind Hamilton and with 6 races to go there were still 150 points to score. Yet despite Bottas being “mathematically in contention for a championship” Mercedes issued team orders and gave Hamilton the win. Mercedes is a team full of virtue signalling, lies and hypocrisy and it’s time for British media to call them out on their LIES.

    1. @armchairexpert
      If you assume that the comment is meant “literally” then you are of course correct.

      However, you are not privvy to the ‘mathematics’ applied by the team. They may well have a formula that determines the likely maximum number of points that can be achieved by each driver for the remainder of the season. If one expands this further there may also have been a minimum number of points anticipated for each driver as well. These formulas could then be combined to determine at what point one drivers theoretical maximum will not exceed the others theoretical minimum.

      Whilst I am not stating that this IS the case, it would nonetheless represent a point at which the team considers a driver to be ‘mathematically’ out of contention.

      1. In 2007 Raikkonen was 17 points behind Hamilton with 2 races to go, with Hamilton on average scoring 7 points per race in prior 15 grand prix. It was unimaginable and unrealistic “mathematically” to reduce that gap and win the championship, so Ferrari and Raikkonen should have capitulated, right? Can you remind me who won 2007 title?

        Stop defending and excusing liars. Lies have to be always called out, otherwise you live in a world built on lying. Mercedes, Wolff and Hamilton are perpetual liars, which is just disgusting.

        1. Jeffrey Powell
          15th November 2022, 9:56

          You are aware that Ferrari and McLaren are different teams and would have different priorities. If you are not I will explain Ferraris cars are normally red and produced mainly in Italy whilst Mclarens cars are different colours and built in Britain using various supplied engines. Of course these two teams have had drivers that have driven for the opposing team perhaps this has confused you .

        2. @armchairexpert

          How can you even compare Ferrari’s only mathematical chance with their remaining driver in the championship against two drivers from the same team? Ferraris objective is to maximise their inly chance at winning a championship, while Mercedes was in a position of maximising their chances of at least one driver taking the WDC.

        3. This is absolutely true. Nothing that has come out of that team is true. Same goes for RedBull and Ferrari by the way. The financial stakes of this sport are simply too high to see any reflection of sportsmanship. Its a pity. In the early years it was just a rich mans hobby but also back then everything was filled and fueled with/by politics. Unfortunately this is not the sport to watch if you’re just into the sport element. In recent years Toto and Christian have elevated the amount of nonsense spread around to unknown levels. As a result of it I nowadays never ever watch or listen anymore to what either has to say as they treat us disrespectfully and are an insult to our intelligence. Maybe some fall for their tricks, but luckily more and more can see right through their insincere corporate pr talk.

        4. LOL! What a silly rant

        5. Raikkonen won that 2007 title, with a brilliant overcut millimetrically calculated by Ferrari to ensure Massa would not win the race.
          Please, get real.

    2. A couple of things… Hamilton wasn’t fighting Bottas for the title, he was fighting Vettel.

      And comparing Raikkonen overturning a 17 point deficit in 2 races to Bottas overturning a 110 point deficit over 6 races is silly.

      There’s a bit of context to the events of that race.

    3. @armchairexpert To summarise every post ever from you: I do not like Sir Lewis, I never have liked Sir Lewis, I never will like Sir Lewis. I utterly adore Max, I always have utterly adored Max, I always will utterly adore Max. Everything said by Toto is a lie. Everything said by CH is the truth. LA LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!
      There you go, anything to add?

      1. I’m trying to figure out how @armchairexpert manages to type with their fingers shoved so deeply into their ears.

      2. He’s right about wolff’s lies though, they indeed issued team orders in questionable circumstances, such as russia, when the title was effectively won (although not mathematically).

  2. Well, surely their first priority would be being in the fight for the win in the first place. And then getting that win on the books is priority.

    It might well be that during the race a situation develops where they have to make this call – only likely if BOTH are in the running for the win and they need to decide on strategy or run into a situation where they are 1-2 towards the end and the slower driver is ahead of the faster driver and they have to either allow the fight (as they did in Brazil, even if no real fight emerged) or call it off.

  3. He doesn’t deserve priority – that should have to be earned and quite frankly RUS should be on even ground with him.
    HAM has not driven as well as RUS for most of the year. Both have made mistakes but that can be expected from a youngster not someone with a dozen years.
    Also, RUS is a clean driver who racer hard but fair – with HAM not so much this year.
    The incidents with ALO at Belgium and VER last weekend are two examples.
    It looks as if he cut across both cars where it would do minimal damage to his car and cripple the other. Only it backfired at Spa with ALO. Either that or his driving skills are questionable as ALO pointed out.
    He also moved under braking when VER passed him at COTA but got away with it.
    I don’t see the up and coming generation of drivers doing this. They are competitive but fair.
    In any case, next year HAM won’t only be dealing VER – RUS will be competitive with him and as Toto pointed out they are both alpha’s and sparks will fly.
    It all changed in Brazil when RUS proved he can win under pressure.
    ALO is right – RUS has The ability to be a champion.

    1. As soon as you implied that Hamilton was at fault last weekend, I stopped paying attention.

      It would have been quicker if you’d written that you don’t like Hamilton and have no respect for him. It certainly would have been more honest that this make believe.

      1. It is your prerogative whether you wish to read the whole post or not.
        However, the issue here isn’t whether I am Hamilton fan or an Alonso fan or a Verstappen fan but if what I imply is true.
        It is clear that Hamilton could have given Verstappen more room and avoided the collision.
        I am not the only one who feels this way.
        Brundle for one, who is hardly anti-Hamilton, saw it the same way as I did as others.

        1. I also thought the same, and in this particular race I have a much better opinion about hamilton than verstappen, BUT with the incident, if it’s not a racing incident, I would’ve given the 5 sec to hamilton, not verstappen: verstappen already got his race ruined and hamilton didn’t leave any space.

          1. Do you not remember last season how many times Hamilton had to back out because Ver did the same thing without fail? And of course he refuses to back out when done to him and it resulted in contact , just as it did in Monza 21’ . If Ham drove as Verstappen did they would have crashed at least 10 times last year. Moving under braking!! I’ve never seen anyone come close to the way Verstappen moves. But since it’s Lewis it’s pointed out. . Smh. Be objective if you’re going to criticize.

    2. Yeah, talk to Bottas about how clean and fair Russell is.

      Hamilton was also driving some very experimental setups early in the year. Since then, however, Russell has been out-qualified by Hamilton 12 to 9 this season. He hasn’t reliably beaten Hamilton on Saturday since Azerbaijan (4 to 9), and average qualifying position favors Hamilton (barely).

      Russell is still ahead in the points, but not in a meaningful way.

      Mercedes’s goal has to be to outscore Ferrari by 19 points in Abu Dhabi. Since their drivers are 4th and 5th, it’s hard to make the case to prioritize either.

      1. Bottas? The guy in a mercedes that was fighting russell in a williams? No sympathy!

      2. Very well argued.

  4. Well, there’s a difference between prioritizing and hedging all bets at his expense :)

  5. It’s not clear to me what that particular record buys you or even coming second in the driver’s championship is worth — especially since the second is nowhere close to the first in points. So, there’s no point in swapping RUS and HAM — when they are 1 and 2. HAM knows it’s not a championship help by a teammate who’s not in contention. Given his so many records, who cares about this one? Even HAM wouldn’t want such a favor.

    I am sure Mercedes would give the same message as they did in Brazil if they ran 1-2. Race respectfully.

    I find it also odd that LEC was pleading with his team for a swap with Sainz. That was low. I hope PER or LEC will earn their second position on track in Abu Dhabi without any favors from their teammates.

  6. I hope he wll grab that victory regardless of priorities.

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