Lewis’s biggest supporter denounces Abu Dhabi tactics


One of Lewis Hamilton’s biggest supporters appeared to denounce his tactics during the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi GP yesterday.

Nigel Mansell is well known for his support of the Lewis over the years. Often citing similarities between his Lewis’s and his own determination to win – heralded as the UK’s people’s champion, against all those odds stacked against them.

Despite ‘Our Nige’s’ rather dulcet tone during interviews (possibly the most bored sounding driver in history other than Kimi), one thing he’s always maintained during his career was a sense of fair play. Often in stark contrast to other drivers of his time, namely Prost, Senna and certainly Piquet.

Tweets from Nigel Mansell critiquing Lewis Hamilton's driving tactics in Abu Dhabi 2016

Credit: @WTF_F1 on Twitter

Clearly his tweets yesterday show that his support for the British No. 1 has wained somewhat. Hamilton’s backing up tactic was the only thing the British driver could do to keep his title hopes alive, against team orders of Paddy Lowe who’s Mercedes team were rightly concerned that the win was in jeopardy from a charging Sebastian Vettel.

The question to the Jury is, was Lewis right to take matters into his own hands? Is he bigger than the whole Mercedes team – or even the brand’s presence in F1?

46 responses to “Lewis’s biggest supporter denounces Abu Dhabi tactics

  1. I would imagine most people voting in this poll will be Hamilton fans. If the rolls were reversed how would they vote?

    • Doesn’t seem like it, although numbers may be small atm.

      I want to be a fan but his petulant teenager act is what puts me off – he’s 31 he should be growing up by now!!

    • It’s always like that, right? Somebody doesn’t share your opinion so he’s a fanboy of xxx? Yes, I think it was the right thing to do. Am I a LH fan? No. TBH I despise him. Why do I think it was the right thing to do? Because it was the only thing that Hamilton could do to remain in the fight at this point. Since the team didn’t like to do it this way, they should’ve just retired him – effect would be the same. If Rosberg and Vettel crashed – I’d be extatic because it would give me something, which this (and previous ones too) season sorely lacked – excitement and unpredictability. And yes, there were some unpredictable events during the course of the season but not nearly enough to balance out the boredom.
      I don’t root for any particular drivers, nor teams. I always want the underdog to win. This is why I love what Verstappen and even Ricciardo was doing throughout the year. Without them you could probably sum up the entire 2016 season with 2 words – “Mercedes won”.
      Drivers should fight from beginning to the end. Violently if possible. Unfortunately, such things don’t fit in well with the current structure of F1.

    • Well, fanboys are crying since yesterday that Rosberg didn’t deserve the championship, some of them going as far as declaring Hamilton 2016 F1 champion in their imaginary world where they live together. That gives you an idea.

    • I don’t like LH. But I think for sure he did the right thing. For me, just driving off into the distance would’ve been a pathetically weak attempt at winning the title. If I was Lewis I would have wanted to back Nico up MUCH harder than he actually did, not caring about the risk of losing the race.
      I’m guessing though that Lewis must have felt that his position in the team would be threatened if he pushed it any harder, so he decided to play the long game (hoping for future world titles).

      It’s interesting that so many people have voted no…. I’d be surprised if there is another multiple world champion in the history of the sport who would not have done the same or worse in his position.

  2. We want excitement! Proclaim the fans.

    How dare something happen! We want a precession! Proclaim the fans

    Rinse repeat.

    • “I want to say and do what I like!” proclaimed the driver.

      “Even if what I say and do aren’t the same thing, and against team interests!” proclaimed the driver.

      “How dare the team, media and fans push back as a result!” proclaimed the driver.

      Rinse and repeat, GP after GP, season after season.

      Witty mechanism; different take.

  3. Regarding branding etc, I beg the court’s indulgence for a moment, so that I might make a personal apology?

    Some time ago, on these pages, I expressed an opinion that Lewis Hamilton was a bad fit for Mercedes Benz in a marketing sense. I opined that their AMG performance channel was all about rich, old, fat blokes who get a half-mongrel over their flappy-paddle, souped-up gin palaces on wheels. Dudes like LH and his acolytes would avoid that tragic scene, I said.

    So… the other weekend I encountered the proof of my error. Two “bro’s” with pretty much identical AMG A45’s – one red, one white.

    The two overly coiffured individuals, replete with rather more ‘ink’ than is strictly necessary and more logos than a surf shop, attended a local a track day to show us their skilz.

    ***As an aside, them A45’s seem effective enough, if a little derivative – a WRX for the well-to-do?***

    These two pillocks seemed a bit surprised that their expensive little buggies, with more driver aids than Freddy Mercury’s chauffeur, were only bothering what seemed like much, much inferior machinery on the straights. Two issues: too much hamfisted joystick video gaming and too many assumptions about cars based on the look and the badge. “Ignorant”, in a word.

    Turns out that they were in real estate, which fits the caricature embarrassingly well. Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

    Anways, if these two douchbags were to leave a comment on the track day I’m sure they would say “LH brought me here”.

    So I was wrong. My apologies.

    • I was on the floor laughing at that, a few years ago I had exactly the same thing happen. Out popped the ‘more money than talent’ idiots who took one look at my little baby Morris and wrote her off before the event..My son was driving while I worked the oily bits.The first time he overtook them was a hoot,flooring them on the straight was a bonus. If they had taken the time to talk I would have talked them though the cosworth running gear and twin cam,garret turbo monster…money can’t replace knowledge 😉

  4. Mercedes shouldn’t have given the ‘instruction’. Given the stakes it was never going to be obeyed. Due respect to Nige but Alonso, Vettel, Schu…. they would all have done exactly as Hamilton did. Mercedes pit wall were stupid to put themselves in a position where they would look weak and impotent if Lewis showed them the finger, which is what he was guaranteed to do.
    On a related point; how did anyone (Ham included) think that there was a danger of anyone overtaking Ros when Ros couldn’t overtake Ham, no matter how slow he went?

    • Entirely agree. Team instructions when the Constructor’s championship is at stake? Sure. Team orders when you have a defined number 1 and number 2, sure. But team orders to decide a World Championship when neither of the preceding are true and you boast of “letting them race”? Stupid.

      A basic rule of command is never give an order that you know isn’t going to be obeyed. Did they really truly think Hamilton was ever going to obey a “Gift Nico the WDC order”. Really? And given the controversy over why Lewis’s Mercedes engines fail so much more often than anyone else’s, is this really an impression Mercedes want to be giving?

      Certainly the only surprise of Coulthard and Webber on the C4 commentary was that Lewis didn’t back Nico up more and earlier. It was, they repeatedly said, his only real hope short of a R engine-failure or a bad pit stop.

      But at the end of the day, Nico is champion and deservedly so. Luck has always been part of what you need to be WDC, partly in being in the right car at the right time, partly in reliability, and partly in who collides with whom and when! How much of Lewis’s first title was luck, his good and Massa’s bad? This year Nico had enough luck to offset whatever margin Lewis has in ability (whilst noting that Lewis also let himself down on multiple occasions with bad starts or “not turning up”, something that had every bit as much impact on the WDC as his car’s reliability). And whether “as good” doesn’t matter – he was good enough.

    • “… Ros couldn’t overtake Ham, no matter how slow he went?”
      You need to watch the 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix again. Hamilton most likely watched it and learned from Schumacher. Häkkinen had zero chance of getting by Schumacher because MSC was extra slow in the slow sections you could not pass in and created buffers before the fast sections to keep any overtaking at bay there too. MSC could have backed him into the Stewarts of Herbert and Barrichello, but he didn’t.

  5. I’m not a Hamilton fan but I voted yes, he was right to do it, from his point of view. From the team’s point of view, obvisouly not as they officially don’t care who wins the Championship as long as they got 1-2 in race, and Lewis was putting that in jeopardy. It is their job to remind the drivers they’re putting their win in danger.
    As for Lewis, I think we all knew beforehand he wasn’t just gonna driver off and hope for the best. What would have Schumacher or Senna have done, that was probably more what Lewis was thinking about than listening to Merc’s instructions. Finally, the result was the 1-2 they wanted so I feel they’ll forgive the heat of the moment thing, as it was just the last few laps of the race. Had Vettel taken Rosberg’s 2nd place, maybe the Merc team would not be so understanding. I feel we are going to be reading about Merc punishing Lewis all the way until the start of the next season but I really think there’s nothing in this story. They won’t fire him, fine him or suspend him. In Merc it will be forgotten about very soon but the media won’t let it go. After all, Seb can tell Whiting to f off and get off free, so what’s a little holding up? At least he didn’t tell Paddy Lowe to f off!! 🙂 But perhaps Lewis wasn’t the most popular guest at the Mercedes party last night….

    • What would Senna have done – taken his rival out (Prost)
      What would Schummacher have done – taken his rival out (Hill) – tried to take his rival out (Villeneuve)

  6. The better question to ask is – could backing up the field have actually worked? The answer is yes only if both Red Bulls were behind Rosberg. As long as you had one Ferrari in the mix it was never going to work. Vettel, once he got behind Rosberg never even tried to overtake him. It was clear what Vettel was doing, he stayed close enough behind Rosberg that Verstappen would have had to have passed both Rosberg and Vettel at the same time, as Vettel made sure there was no gap between them for Verstappen to slot into. Verstappen, a driver I’m coming to like more and more, decided he didn’t want to be remembered as the WC decider, and simply sat behind Vettel for the rest of the race. I’m pretty sure Raikonnen would done pretty much the same thing Vettel did. Vettel didn’t want to be remembered as a German who denied another German the WC, and Raikonnen is good friends with Rosberg’s Finnish father Keke. I’m not surprised #44 wasn’t bright enough to figure out what the Ferrari drivers would do. Had I been Hamilton I would have tried to lap the whole field.

    • that’s interesting, I never considered the views of anyone else other than Lewis and Nico. Didn’t Vettel try to overtake? He seemed to be having a serious look at one point but Nico defended it, think it was turn 1. After that, I agree he didn’t try anymore, but the benefit of his tyres was also wearing off. I never thought that Vettel was so close to Rosberg was that so Max couldn’t slot in, but I guess that, in addition to the possibility of Rosberg going wide, would make sense. I also thought Max wouldn’t create any troubles. He’s had a hell of a year in life and he can be happy with everything that’s happened so I thought Max most of all wanted to finish this race without incident. The championship was out of Hamilton’s hands a while ago so there’s nothing he could have really done himself to ensure he’d win and he could never know how the rest of the field would play along. I guess backing up was the easiest thing to do and hope for the best

    • That has to be garbage. If he hadn’t come in he would have been asking to be undercut. That’s why the threat to give Rosberg the call had teeth.

  7. Not an LH fan and voted in his defence. This drama is inherrently good for the sport. Mercedes-Benz should have kept their nose out of it but you know how Corporate is, sucks the pleasure out of the show; ask Bernie, he has it down to a science.

    It proved to me who had the pair to make their own luck and who was too chicken sh!t to yank at the pair dangling in front of them in a show of dominance.

    2016 WDC summary: Fortune favors the bold but a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.

  8. Gd 4 u lewis, u should be champ and in my eyes u r and christian horner is right what he said, all u people against what lewis did need 2 read it, he was racing at the pace he wanted 2 try and keep his championship, so be quiet vettel with yr nasty comments, vettel the biggest whiner in the sport, if anything needs looking in2 its mercedes themselves 4 all the engine problems lewis suffered, he would be world champ now if it wasn’t 4 those issues, how can he be the only one on the grid 2 have problems, there r 8 merc engines on the grid, very suspicious, he should also have been champ in 2007, read bout that one. Now mercedes have suspended lewis, conspiracy if u ask me, they wanted a german driver 2 win, do they now want the whiner vettel 2 join them, we will see.

    • I are you right Linda. 2007 should be given to Lewis. 08 he sorted…
      09 I think he should have simply cos he’s better than Button.
      10 we have to give to Lewis because those damn foreigners cheat.
      11, well he had a bit of a meltdown and it’s only right the playgroup makes everyone a winner
      12, Mclaren let him down badly, so another 100 mill fine and he takes the trophy because he was stuck with a name meaning lavatory all his life.
      13, he took a break from all his winning so as to re-engineer the Mercedes. Brawn and Schumacher had failed miserably so Hammy went in and reorganised the works which is why he won in 14 and 15.

      As for this year, well we are all agreed that Nico nly won because Lewis had an engine blow up. The races which he struggled with shouldn’t have been included because he’d been told he could party on…

      Also I blame Bernie for not having a 22 race season as opposed to 19 or 20 previously. Another race and Lewis would have won the title. Damn you Bernie.

      Imagine if the season had finished one or two races earlier…

  9. Leaving apart the was it right, wasn’t right question. Was this done before, a driver backing other up so clearly in a champion decider race? I can’t remember something similar since 1995 when I first watched F1.

      • I am no Hammy fan but what he did is exactly what he needed to do and that is racing.
        He could have drove into the distance and shown the world just what that car could do or he could back his rival into the pack.. we saw which one he chose.
        From further reading,he couldn’t do this until after the last pit stop as Merc had told the drivers that if this would happen then Nico would get first dibs at the stop hence the early call for tyres.. 5 laps under the ideal (incase any driver ignored the call).
        I have no problem with these tactics,The problem I have is attitude. From the limited view of a TV screen we didn’t see a congratulatory Lewis until asked by DC for a shake of hands. That in my book is a bad sportsman and that is why Lewis is a great driver but not a great champion imho.

  10. Off topic. Does anybody know what is going on with Hamilton no longer following pre-race protocol and not aligning with his fellow drivers for the anthem ceremonies? He goes and stands besides the representative of the hosting country.

  11. Without Hamilton backing the pack up the race would have been absolutely rubbish. It is a good tactic. Stop this drive for absolutely clean no foot wrong inch perfect gentleman ‘you first, no please you first’ bullshit racing. Let men fight like men. Sissy rules.

  12. BBC is also saying Lewis should be champion but that in the end, it doesn’t matter, because Rosberg will NEVER be his equal, although the future could change that. Part of the British sporting world are hurt so they take consolation that it was the Mercedes team that screwed Lewis this season, and they wanted Rosberg to win all along. It is not necessarily the team’s fault when an engine fails, and although he lost the lead in that race, everyone is totally overlooking the fact that Lewis had some bad starts this season, which can only be blamed on him. These bad starts also contributed to him loosing the championship. The stats speak for themselves, and Lewis is the better driver of the two so far but I think Rosberg won this fair and square, and Lewis can blame Mercedes but he needs rise above it and accept it (still I rise). I heard the Channel 4 commentator say an interesting stat during the race, that Lewis and Nico now have the same amount of engine failures over their years at Mercedes and that it’s now even. I imagine Lewis will take next year’s Championship or quit the sport in a hissy fit if he feels Mercedes got in the way of his arising

  13. I Loved Watching MY NIGE Back In The Day, But He Seems To Have Forgotten He Himself Disobeyed Team Orders In SILVERSTONE 1987 – And I Am So Glad He Did Ignore Them…

    …And He Took A Lot Of Heat From The Team Because Of That, Too.

    NIGE Should Not Act As A 15 Minute Junkie, He Does Not Need It, And, Aggressive As He Always Was ( Thank, GOD ), This Is Total Boollsheet Coming From Him.


  14. MARTIN BRUNDLE Just Said This Last SUNDAY:

    There Is No **I** In **TEAM**, But There Is An **M** And An **E** – Period.

    GO, 44 !

  15. Absolutely amazed that the vote is so close. As much as i loathe Spamilton, the tactics he employed were the tactics he needed to employ to give him a chance of winning the WDC. I’m amazed he didnt start using those tactics earlier to be perfectly honest.

    Meanwhile, i am not at all surprised that Vettel didn’t want to get fully involved in the fight and try and pass King Nico. Would he have wanted to deny a fellow German a WDC? Probably not. Would he have wanted Lewis to win the title and join him on 4 WDCs? Probably not.

    • Mercedes were well aware that Hamilton might be slowing the race down, so they threatened him by saying they’d pit Rosberg before him and give Rosberg the benefit of the ‘undercut’. This is the reason Hamilton didn’t do it earlier, he started doing it after Merc’s threat had evaporated after the pit stops. I’m glad he did, it added a lot of excitement to the race, rather than him driving off into the distance. He also played perfectly within the rules, F1 didn’t give him no penalty, no unsportsman like behavious, and for all this drama about Merc punishing him, I don’t think they will. After all they had won the Constructor championship and said they would let them race. Good race!

  16. Yes, Lewis was right. He had to play his cards and that was it. Mercedes know how to make cars, but it sucks at PR.

  17. A few points from me on this subject:

    1.) What he did was within the rules and I think many drivers would have done the same against most opponents, his team mate ?? Wow that’s pretty harsh. This can’t be compared to MSC vs Hakkinen etc as they were different teams and that makes the scenario quite different.
    2.) Why did Hamilton think slowing down would make Rosberg vulnerable? He’s in the same car, with the same power unit. So the fact Lewis made sure Nico couldn’t pass him in the areas where you can overtake meant Nico could do exactly the same thing to the guys behind him. Oops brain fail for the Brit on that front.
    3.) Don’t go saying you’re not going to employ any dodgy tactics then do exactly that in the race, it makes you look even more of a tool than most think you are Lewis….
    4.) Media reaction; I always find it amusing that those who were quick to jump on the backs of Vettel for Multi21 and Max in recent times for their ignoring of team orders are more than happy to defend their golden boy. Have a little class for gods sake (yes Martin Brundle I’m looking at you again!), you either support drivers ignoring the team or you don’t – don’t change your opinion just because you’re biased towards certain drivers.

    Contrary to what many may think from my comments above, I think Lewis made the right call in trying to slow Nico up, there’s no point not giving it a go. That said he did a piss poor job of it. He’s now annoyed his team greatly, not prevented Nico from winning the WDC, shown that what he tells the media is a pack of lies and demonstrated he’s not got anything like the mental capacity of drivers like Schumacher. *insert epic fail instagram image (with rabbit ears) here*

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