Lewis Hamilton v Nico Rosberg: Mercedes orders would 'rob' racing fans

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff
Lewis Hamilton does not think Mercedes boss Toto Wolff should introduce team orders

Lewis Hamilton says he will "pray and hope" Mercedes do not introduce team orders in his Formula 1 title battle with Nico Rosberg because it "robs" fans and "takes the joy" out of racing.

The team-mates collided while racing for the lead on the last lap of the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton went on to win and now trails Rosberg, who was fourth, by 11 points.

Triple world champion Hamilton said: "I've been in that position before. It goes against all racing values."

The two drivers will resume their contest at this weekend's British Grand Prix, where a crowd of 140,000 is expected on race day at Silverstone.

But Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has indicated he could impose restrictions to prevent them from racing freely, reducing the likelihood of another crash.

"I didn't come into this sport to be in that situation, so I will pray and hope that's not the case," said Hamilton, 31.

"Firstly for myself, because that would take the joy of racing out. Secondly for the fans, because that will rob them of what they pay so much money for.

"They save up all year to go to the British Grand Prix. Team orders are not something that should deprive them of their excitement.

"Even if it's the other way around and the guy's coming for me, that's racing. That is what you sit in the dirt and mud in the camper van at Silverstone for and that is why you buy the cap, because you have that passion and that fire."

Rosberg was held responsible for the incident by race stewards, who penalised him 10 seconds and added two penalty points on his licence.

Wolff, who operates the team on the basis that the two drivers race freely but must not crash into each other, called the collision "brainless" and said he would consider "all options" to try to control the situation.

Responding to Wolff's comments. Hamilton said: "Emotions are running high but it might not have been the best thing to say.

"There's more than just me, Nico and Toto. There are 1,300 people on the team that are watching us. Even through this difficult time, it's important how we project that energy as leaders."

Wolff will discuss the situation with senior Mercedes management before deciding what policy to introduce.

But Hamilton insisted: "I feel like I have the right to say my opinion regardless of the boss. I don't feel anyone is above or below, regardless of how you live, wealth, religion, whatever it might be.

"You can talk to anyone on that level with respect so I would tell them I have an opinion that needs discussion. They hire me as a racing driver to race. They don't hire us to finish as a number two."

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