The Brit’s generosity at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday means he now trails championship leader Sebastian Vettel by 14 points
LEWIS HAMILTON left three points in Budapest after his sporting gesture to allow team-mate Valtteri Bottas to take third place.
The Brit’s generosity at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday means he now trails championship leader Sebastian Vettel by 14 points.
And it also raised the question as to why he did it. Hamilton, 32, will not need to be reminded of the phrase “nice guys finish last”.
And before he had left the Hungaroring, you could already see he was wondering if he should have defied Mercedes team orders.
When asked if he thought about keeping third, despite Bottas initially allowing him to pass and attack Kimi Raikkonen for second, Hamilton was coy.
Instead he spoke about wanting to “win the championship the right way” despite admitting his actions could cost him dear.
He said: “It came from the heart. The mind is more cut-throat and every point counts and this is do or die. But my heart told me the right thing to do is let him by.”
Last season in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton ignored team orders in a last-ditch attempt to win the title from Nico Rosberg. Ironically, he was widely criticised.
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But he is now more mature and has a good dynamic with Bottas. In obeying the instructions, Hamilton kept the Finn on-side, which could prove helpful going forward.
He has also strengthened team spirit within Mercedes, another vital weapon given the huge problems they had in 2016.
Hamilton will spend time at his Colorado home and Barbados before returning for the Belgian Grand Prix on August 27.
He added: “The break has come at a good time.
“It has definitely been a very difficult season until now and this break will be good for everyone.
“We can recharge and come back feeling fresh.
“I truly believe we have the ability to win this championship, but it is going to take 100 per cent of everyone’s effort to pull it off.
“I will go away and try to come back in a strong manner.”
History suggests it is not all doom and gloom in the title race.
No driver who has won the Hungarian Grand Prix has gone on to win the Formula One crown since Michael Schumacher in 2004.
And in the last ten years, only four drivers who have led the championship going into the summer break have won the title.