Giving third place to his team-mate has won the Briton applause and the move should guarantee Mercedes’ full backing if the F1 title race gets tight
Lewis Hamilton knows giving third place back to Valtteri Bottas at the Hungaroring on Sunday might cost him in the Formula One title battle but insisted it was the right thing to do. He has been applauded for doing so and rightly. In the cut-throat business of a championship fight, few drivers would have felt it necessary. Indeed Sebastian Vettel showed his ruthless streak in doing the opposite by overtaking Mark Webber at Malaysia in 2013 during the “multi-21 incident”. Hamilton may regret it come the end of the season and Mercedes may equally regret not throwing their weight behind one driver as Ferrari have so clearly done but they insist it is not how they go racing. One further outcome seems likely, however. With his gesture Hamilton is assured that, should it come to the time when Mercedes chose to back him fully, he has established a good enough relationship to ensure co-operation from his team-mate – which might pay off handsomely when it really matters.