Well this will throw some fuel on the fire of the entire “Nico was handed a championship” argument.
So initially, we all know the story by now: Lewis was slowing down on purpose to prevent Nico from getting second place by having two cars pass Nico to give Hamilton the championship. This was then dismissed as Lewis disobeying team orders. Even team boss Toto Wolf said that Lewis was ignoring them.
Now it looks like Wolf and Merc are changing their tunes. According to reports, the team orders were totally wrong in Abu Dhabi and that Merc should have let them race.
Upon further review, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton did nothing wrong in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix — the race that saw him lose his Formula 1 championship to teammate Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton had a wire-to-wire victory at Abu Dhabi, but was accused by some, including four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, of using dirty tactice in a desperate bid to retain the title as he backed Rosberg into the traffic. Namely, those tactics centered around keeping the pace slow to allow challengers to close on Rosberg late.
In hindsight, Wolff says that the team orders were not needed.
“In the heat of the moment, sometimes when you make decisions you get them wrong,” Wolff told Sky Sports. “In our mind, the way we think, this race is giving us the same number of points as other races and we try to win that one, not considering that was much more at stake for the drivers.
“How the race panned out, we should have communicated differently and in hindsight let them race in the way they deemed to be appropriate.”
So in hindsight, Wolf wishes he would have let them race. I mean Lewis was racing and ignoring them anyway so I’m not sure what this admission changes. Maybe this is some sort of mea culpa to Hamilton now that he’s the top dog once again. It very well could be. It’s also possible that this is just Wolf feeling regret for telling Lewis to speed up and follow orders. Who knows. Either way it all seems a bit fishy and an attempt to kiss Hamilton’s feet.