Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he was “conflicted” when team orders were initiated during the Russian Grand Prix to hand him the victory, but insists that people only remember who wins the title, not the strategy they use, and has cited Michael Schumacher as an example.
Valtteri Bottas took pole position on Saturday in Sochi and was poised to win the GP, but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff ordered him to swap positions with Hamilton who was looking to extend his lead over Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship.
Hamilton apologised to and thanked Bottas for the incident, and claims he wasn’t sure about going through with his part in it.
“I felt very conflicted,” Hamilton told UOL Esporte after the race.
“It did cross my mind and that’s what the team wanted, they wanted to come away with ten points more. That was the ultimate goal, was to have ten points more rather than just the three or whatever.
“I felt conflicted because that’s what the team wanted and I knew that’s what we wanted, but I also knew what felt right.”
The most successful driver in F1 history is Schumacher, and Hamilton believes that the German’s seven championships are remembered more by fans than the decisions, right or wrong, throughout a season.
“In winning championships people don’t remember the right and wrongs in a season, they remember who wins,” the Mercedes driver continued.
“You look at Michael Schumacher, he has seven world titles, he’s the greatest decorated driver, but was it always right decisions they made? Who knows, but I would say often quite smart decisions in winning and sealing constructors’ championships each year.”
Following the victory at the Russian GP this past weekend, Hamilton is now 50 points ahead of Vettel in the title rankings.
Now, the F1 paddock is headed to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix.