• What the papers said - Hungarian GP

'Every man for himself' in 2014

ESPN Staff
July 28, 2014
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Despite Daniel Ricciardo's victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Monday's newspapers were understandably dominated by Lewis Hamilton's decision to ignore team orders to let Nico Rosberg past.

During the latter stages of the race Rosberg came up behind Hamilton, with the two men on differing strategies after the safety car periods had blown the race wide open. Hamilton was asked to move over but refused, saying his team-mate was not close enough, something Kevin Eason of the Times thinks has given a whole new complexion to the title fight.

"In 12 pulsating minutes," Eason wrote, "Lewis Hamilton transformed the theme of this World Championship into 'every man for himself'. He defied his team, thwarted an angry team-mate and completed a minor miracle."

Eason also jumped to the defence of Hamilton, stating the man we have come to know as a thoroughbred racer was never going to heed to such an order.

"Hamilton was - correctly in this correspondent's view - right to be indignant and he has done F1 a favour because Wolff admitted that team orders, a scourge of this sport, are dead. Hamilton was racing to win, he was in third position and could smell the blood of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari. Hamilton had already hunted down 20 cars and his next victim awaited. Why would he lose time to move aside? Rosberg was simply another casualty."

Not everybody was so forgiving to Hamilton's decision. Jonathan McEvoy of the Daily Mail thinks the refusal ruined what was otherwise a phenomenal charge through the field.

"It was an act of regrettable insubordination, one that took the gloss off a wonderful recovery drive that took Hamilton, whose car burst into flames in qualifying, from a pit-lane start to a third-place finish," McEvoy wrote. "He was putting his own needs above those of the team. He may even have denied them victory, through Rosberg. The team were doing their best to protect Hamilton - as they always do - and smooth over the searching questions the controversy prompted [after the race].

"Hamilton was racing to win, he was in third position and could smell the blood of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari."

"Can anyone control Hamilton? Seemingly not given that Wolff said there would be 'no ramifications' for this act of disobedience."

Daniel Johnson of the Telegraph, like many others, pointed out that in 2013 Rosberg was told to hold station behind Hamilton in Malaysia before moving over later that year in Germany. But he questioned the mind-set of Mercedes given that its two drivers are now fighting for a world championship, which they were not in 2013.

"On this occasion, given the circumstances with Hamilton's mechanical problems of late, it was perplexing as to why the team thought he would take heed of their command. It was an act of defiance which will seemingly go unpunished. The team now realise - how they did not before is beyond me - that, given the closeness of their title duel, no driver can be relied upon to help the other out when it means losing ground in the championship."

Johnson also suggests it demonstrates why Mercedes is lacking influence of former team principal Ross Brawn.

"It is clear that the likeable [Paddy] Lowe is no enforcer … Brawn is a past master in team orders. Last year in Malaysia he firmly but fairly told Rosberg to hold station behind Hamilton. He also had ample experience from his Ferrari days. Clearly, he was never a man to be ignored."

The Independent's David Tremayne suggested Lewis Hamilton's post-race demeanour suggested he felt a degree of guilt, writing: "Immediately after the Hungarian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton looked like somebody who knew he had to face the music at Mercedes after deliberately disobeying orders to let Nico Rosberg overtake."