Although acknowledging that Lewis Hamilton’s slow pace in the final 10 laps of the Abu Dhabi GP did “present some challenges”, Paddy Lowe is not willing to pass judgement on the driver.
Hamilton did what he needed to do in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as he backed up title rival Nico Rosberg in the closing laps.
The Brit needed both Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen to pass his team-mate in order to retain the World title.
Rosberg was not happy with the situation and Mercedes asked Hamilton to up his pace. The second request to do so was billed as an “instruction.”
Hamilton refused to and summed it up by saying: “Right now, I’m losing the World Championship, so I’m not bothered if I’m going to lose the race.”
However, in the end Rosberg held off the charging Vettel to finish second thereby wrapping up his first F1 World title.
Asked about Hamilton ignoring the team orders, Mercedes tech chief Lowe told Sky Sports F1: “I don’t want to comment too much on the subject because who knows, we weren’t driving the car.
“Who knows what the real pace is of a car when you are not driving it.
“It did present some challenges, in end Lewis and Nico were out there racing.
“I think it was great to see Sebastian coming through with what turned out to be a very good strategy from Ferrari to get him ahead of the two Red Bulls.
“It was nail-biting stuff for us on the pitwall, those final two laps, would he get through Nico or even Lewis.”
Pressed as to why Mercedes were trying to dictate the race, Lowe replied: “This is what makes F1 exciting in the way that we are constructed to have a conflict between what a team wants and what two individual drivers want.
“They each want to win and we come in to every race to win the race.”