Teamwork is the essential part of any successful Formula One outfit; and that is exactly what Lewis Hamilton displayed at the Hungaroring this weekend. Lewis acted in an exemplary sportsman-like manner to allow his Silver Arrows team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, to take third place in the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Initially the pair first traded places on lap 47; when Valtteri moved aside for Lewis to allow him through. The agreement was clear; if Lewis was unable to catch and pass the leading Ferraris of either Kimi Raikkonen or Sebastian Vettel, then Lewis would swap the position back. Unfortunately Lewis couldn’t; and he duly obliged to trade back; irrespective of the fact that Vettel's victory means the German has a 14-point lead in the F1 championship going into the summer break.
Lewis, who also battled against a faulty radio while his team on the pit wall suffered a drop-out in telemetry, admitted that the sporting gesture to Valtteri could harm his own title prospects.
"I want to win the championship the right way, and I don't know whether that will come back to bite me or not. But I said at the beginning of the year, I want to win it the right way. I do think that letting Valtteri go back in front was the right way to do things.
"I was the quicker car and the team were in a difficult position, but it really shows that I am a man of my word and also that I am a team player. It shows unity in the team. In life, if you do good things, good things do come round back to you. If I lose the world championship I don't know what I would say then, but I want to win it the right way."
Valtteri was quick to praise Lewis's gesture and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team’s decision to allow him to finish behind Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; gifting the Finn his eighth podium of the season. It was a difficult decision for the team, especially with the looming threat of Max Verstappen, but one which builds a strong unity between the Silver Arrow team-mates.
Valtteri said: "I was trying to get close enough to Kimi to attack, but there were no opportunities. That’s why we first swapped. Then as a team we decided to swap to allow Lewis to try.
“The team promised me that once we did the swap, and if I let him go, that we would swap back again if Lewis couldn't make it. He couldn't and the team kept their promise, which I'm really happy about and thankful for. Big thanks to Lewis as well because I don't think every team-mate would have done that if you are running for a podium place."
The Silver Arrows drivers and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team will now head off for the traditional F1 summer break, before the action resumes at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps on 27th August.
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1h39m46.713s
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0.908s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 12.462s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 12.885s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 13.276s
6 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m11.223s
7 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1 Lap
8 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
9 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
10 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 1 Lap
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1 Lap
12 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1 Lap
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
14 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap
15 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 2 Laps
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 2 Laps
17 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Collision
- Paul Di Resta Williams/Mercedes Oil leak
- Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari Wheel
- Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault Collision