Lauda backs Hamilton over team orders
28 July 2014 – Mercedes Non-Executive Chairman Niki Lauda says Lewis Hamilton was completely within his rights to ignore instructions to let team-mate Nico Rosberg through during Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
With Rosberg running on the Soft tyres and needing to pit again, Hamilton – having completed his final stop for Mediums – ignored multiple requests over the radio to move aside and allow the German to overtake him.
Lauda, a three-time World Champion, believes that the outfit made a mistake by issuing team orders.
"I have to defend the team," explained Lauda, when quizzed about the situation in the Hungaroring paddock.
"The team was under enormous stress because the race was a very difficult one, there is no question.
"This race, with the Safety Car at the beginning and the wet conditions, was a completely different race. So every minute, six seconds, you had to decide something different.
"In this stress the team told Lewis he should let Nico by because he was on softer tyres and has to come in. But in Lewis' position, he was clear that if [Nico] had been in the DRS position, one second behind, he would have let him by. But Nico never got that close.
"Therefore I can understand that Lewis said, 'Why? Why should I stop now in the middle of the circuit to let my team colleague by?' He is fighting for the championship anyway.
"So from my point of view Lewis was right. And why the call came, this happened out of the panic and we had to make up for what we were losing."
By fending off Rosberg in the closing stages for third, Hamilton cut the championship lead to 11 points.