World champion Lewis Hamilton has urged Mercedes to reject team orders and allow him and arch rival Nico Rosberg to continue racing each other in their fight for the drivers’ world title.
On the last lap of his victory in Sunday’s Austrian GP, Hamilton collided with current Championship leader, and Mercedes teammate, Rosberg, pushing Rosberg down to 4th from 2nd place. Sunday’s collision was their third in five races and came only four races on from their crash in Spain where both men were forced into retirement on the opening lap.
Yet, the defending three-time champion said he hoped Mercedes boss Toto Woff would reject the temptation of team orders.
“I hope it doesn’t change and I hope we can continue to race,” said Hamilton. “That is my honest opinion from a love of this sport.”
“We have a lot of races ahead and we will continue to race. I am fighting for the world championship so we will keep fighting.”
“Hopefully, through these experiences there will be no more and, hopefully, a lot less than what we have had so far this year. Hopefully, they are a blip in the mist and we will continue racing forward.
“You never want to see team orders happening. The great thing is Toto and Niki (Lauda) have been great and allow us to race and that is what racing is about.”
Hamilton won Sunday’s race after surviving a collision with Rosberg on the final lap when the German drove into him and forced him off the circuit at Turn Two.
Rosberg was later called to a stewards’ inquiry and given a time penalty, but he retained his fourth place finish in the race. He was leading into the last lap, but fell to fourth after crashing with Hamilton.
Wolff showed his anger and frustration after the race and said he was considering the introduction of team orders in future to protect the team when they had a clear opportunity to claim one-two finishes.
“Team orders are on the table now, we have to consider this,” said Wolff, after Sunday’s stunning contest in which Hamilton overcame unfavourable strategy decisions and Rosberg’s belligerence to win.
“I want to race,” said Hamilton. “I grew up wanting to race. I wanted to get to F1, race the best and be the best, by out-driving another individual.
“They showed a replay of Michael (Schumacher) and (Rubens) Barrichello many years ago (the team orders controversy from Austria 2002) and I was disappointed as a fan back then.
“It is not always going to be blue skies and perfect, but that is motor racing. We have seen the good and the bad and know these things can happen. We are driving at 200-plus mph.”
“You expect us to drive around and never, never, never have a problem? I doubt it.”
Hamilton said he did all he could to avoid a crash on Sunday when he passed Rosberg on the outside.
“It is not something I go out to get involved in,” he said. “I don’t go out to get caught in collisions. As you could see, I drove as wide as possible, within the white lines, so I left a lot of space.
“Three cars could have come on the inside of me there. As a team boss and team, the team want to finish 1-2. That is our goal and it is my goal - although I want to be at the front of the 1-2...”