Lewis Hamilton has insisted that he is not angry with his Mercedes team following the decision to head into the pits with less than 10 laps to go in the Turkish Grand Prix, instead taking the blame himself.
Hamilton – who finds himself neck-and-neck with Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings – was told by his team to head into the pits in order for a wheel change, however he did not seem happy with the decision.
When the decision to take a pitstop was put to the seven-time world champion, he was heard saying on his radio: “I don’t think it is man. I feel like we should stay out. I mean I’m sliding around but it’s OK so far.”
In the end Hamilton headed in for the wheel change, but after sitting in third before entering the stop he now found himself off the podium and two places back in fifth.
As a result, his on track frustrations continued over the team radio as he added: “**** man why did you give up that place?
“What position am I in man? We shouldn’t have come in man. I’ve got massive graining man. I told you!”
Despite the radio outburst towards his team, Hamilton was quick to defend his Mercedes camp via a statement that he released on his Instagram account the morning after the race.
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The Englishman admitted that he would not apologise for his behaviour over the radio, due to the passion he and his team go through during a race, and that any issues had already been quickly forgotten as the look ahead to the US Grand Prix.
The seven-time world champion said: “Don’t ever expect me to be all polite and calm on the radio when I’m racing.
"We are all very passionate, and in the heat of the moment that passion can come out, as it does for all the drivers.
“My heart and spirit are out there on the track. It’s the fire in me that has got me this far. But any angst is quickly forgotten and we talked it through, and are already looking ahead to the next race.”
The 36-year-old seemed insistent on remaining on the tyres he began the race with, as he believed this gave him the best chance to hold onto his third place spot and thus earn his 12th podium of the campaign.
Of course the main concern of the Mercedes camp regarding the swap was their driver’s safety, and having had time to reflect Hamilton now believes this was the correct decision.
He added: “We took the risk to stay out, hoping it would dry, and it didn’t. I wanted to risk it and try and go to the end, but it was my call to stay out and it didn’t work.
"In the end we did pit and it was the safest thing to do.”
Hamilton’s fifth place finish meant that he gave up his slender lead over Red Bull title rival Verstappen, as the Dutchman was able to secure second place behind eventual winner, and the Englishman’s teammate Valtteri Bottas.
This therefore means that Verstappen is the man to once again creep into top spot, as he now sits six points clear of the seven-time world champion who is just behind in second.
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