After Sunday’s Abu Dabi Grand Prix, the driest track in all the land, Lewis Hamilton rolled back the years and went against team orders as he refused to pick up the pace during the closing stages of the race.
Mercedes saw Hamilton’s neglect to go faster as sabotage, with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen almost hindering Nico Rosberg’s title run.
In a typical Sons of Anarchy like episode, The Mirror quoted Wolff saying he won’t tolerate the Brit’s behaviour and that punishment is in order.
“Anarchy does not work in any team and in any company,” said the Austrian.
“Undermining a structure in public means you are putting yourself before the team.
“Everything is possible now, from let’s change the rules next year because it does not work in those critical races and maybe we want to give them more freedom.”
Fun fact of the day: The last driver who won the title with less race wins than than the 2nd placed driver was: Lewis Hamilton (2008). #AMuS
— Tobi Grüner (@tgruener) November 28, 2016
Sorry, but don’t get outrage over Hamilton’s tactics in Abu Dhabi. So he was driving slowly. Maybe Rosberg should have overtaken him then
— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) November 28, 2016
Summing it all up
In typical news-ception style, Sky Sports tweeted a picture of the other papers naming Hamilton on the FBI’s most wanted list…
— Sky Sports F1 ? (@SkySportsF1) November 28, 2016
‘Dirty’ tactics okay as long as congrats are forthcoming
But it wasn’t just Hamilton’s backing up that had the gents on Fleet Street up in arms, after all it takes nothing to be a gentleman – even in defeat.
“Hamilton was at fault only in the race’s aftermath,” wrote The Guardian’s Paul Weaver. “On the podium and in the press conference, he was less than gracious to the man who had supplanted him, the driver who had dedicated his sporting life to this one moment – Rosberg, his once close friend.
“So mealy-mouthed was Hamilton as he “congratulated” Rosberg that the title winner’s fellow German Sebastian Vettel had to step in and declare the Mercedes man a worthy champion.
“Finally, and appropriately, the British driver looked a little embarrassed but he failed to display a champion’s style when it was most required.”
More graciously ungracious
Giving credit where credit is due is clearly not the forte of the Independent newspaper.
Post-Abu Dhabi headlines include…
“How Hamilton lost the F1 world title to Rosberg”
“Seven races that led to Rosberg winning the world championship”
Rosberg gets it too
Rosberg wasn’t unscathed in Fleet Street’s assessment of Sunday’s race.
Billed under the headline “If Lewis Hamilton is in trouble for racing then the sport has lost its soul” Martin Samuel had a go at the new World Champion.
He wrote: “Late in the race, he said Mercedes should tell Hamilton to let him pass and he would then return the favour at the end of the final lap, so Hamilton won the race. For a champion driver, it was embarrassing.”
And Mercedes had best beware because any sanctions for Hamilton could hurt Formula 1 itself.
“With an over-reliance on team instructions and incomprehensible technology, the sports risks alienating itself from all but the most intense petrol-heads. If Hamilton is in trouble for racing, what market will there be, long term, for F1?”