Lauda: Lewis was right, the call was unnecessary

Niki Lauda with Lewis Hamilton

Niki Lauda with Lewis Hamilton

Niki Lauda has come out in support of Lewis Hamilton’s defiance of team orders and subsequent refusal to slow down to allow Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to pass during a tense Hungarian Grand Prix.

Lauda, the retired three-times world champion and now non-executive chairman of Mercedes who lured Hamilton from McLaren to Mercedes, said the Briton did what he had to do.

“I do understand that Lewis said: Why? Why should I stop now in the middle of the circuit to let my team colleague by.”

“He is fighting for the championship,” Lauda told reporters. “From my point of view, Lewis was right. Why the call came, this happened out of the panic and we had to make up for what we were losing. The call was unnecessary, afterwards, but it was made.”

Lewis Hamilton leads Nico Rosberg during the Hungarian GP

Lewis Hamilton leads Nico Rosberg during the Hungarian GP

“Lewis ignored it and finished third, so looking backwards nothing wrong from my point of view. It is important Lewis said: No, I’m racing my team-mate anyway. So he did the right thing,” added Lauda.

After the race where he finished third and Rosberg crossed the line fourth, Hamilton explained his decision not to slow down to allow his teammate to pass, “I was in the same race as him. Just because he had one more stop than me doesn’t mean I wasn’t in the same race as him,” he explained.

“And naturally if I’d have let him past, he would have had the opportunity to pull away and when he does pit, he’s going to come back and overtake me.”

“To be honest, he didn’t get close enough to overtake but I was never going to lift off and lose ground to Fernando [Alonso] or Daniel to enable him to have a better race. So that was a bit strange,” said Hamilton. (GP247-Reuters)