Horner backs Hamilton over "naive" Mercedes

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says he never expected Lewis Hamilton to do anything other than try to back Nico Rosberg into the pack in Abu Dhabi, and it was "naive" of Mercedes to have thought he would do anything else.

Horner backs Hamilton over "naive" Mercedes
The podium: second place Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates his World Championship with race winner and team mate Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates his World Championship with the team
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Listen to this article

Horner had said before the weekend that Hamilton's only option to win the title was to play a tactical game of trying to slow Rosberg down so that other cars could overtake him.

Speaking after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when asked if he was surprised about the extent to which Hamilton did it, Horner said: "I wouldn't have expected him to do anything different.

"He played completely within the rules. Winning the race wasn't going to be enough for him today, he needed cars between him and if he'd have charged off into the distance he would never have…that wouldn't have created that possibility.

"He won the race as slowly as he could, it's only like in a football game where a team might protect from the opposition by kicking the ball around and not enabling the opposition to get hold of the ball. I didn't see that he did anything wrong today.

"There's only two drivers competing for the world championship, it was totally obvious that he was going to do that."

Mercedes naive

Mercedes said after the race that it had been unsure about whether or not Hamilton would back Rosberg up or race off in to the distance to prove a point.

Horner though thinks it "naive" of the team to have expected anything different with the world championship at stake.

"With where they were at, it was just down to those two guys," he said. "So it was only ever going to be that kind of battle between the two of them.

"Congratulations to Nico, he has driven a great season this year. He is a very worthy world champion but it was naive to think that there would be any different approach to this race with what is at stake."

When asked what he would have done about Hamilton if he was his boss, Horner said: "We know that Toto likes to control most things in the paddock including other teams' drivers… so you could not expect any different.

"They are racing for a world championship, the drivers' world championship. There are only two guys in it and they are both in the same car.

"Lewis – winning the race was never going to be enough for him and he drove a tactical race. He didn't do anything dirty. He drove a tactical race. He didn't do anything against the rules and I think it would be unfair to criticise Lewis for the way he drove.

"It was obvious that coming into the weekend that was his only chance of achieving the result he wanted. It would be unfair to criticise him."

When asked if the tensions at Mercedes were something that Red Bull could exploit, Horner said: "I understand that Toto has suggested Lewis followed my instruction rather than his and he should come and drive for Red Bull...but maybe it works better to talk directly to the driver rather than the father."

shares
comments
Williams thinks bump caused Bottas' suspension problem
Previous article

Williams thinks bump caused Bottas' suspension problem

Next article

Ocon and Wehrlein at odds over Abu Dhabi clash

Ocon and Wehrlein at odds over Abu Dhabi clash
Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull Prime

Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull

The 2022 Formula 1 season was Mercedes' leanest for a decade, achieving just a solitary pole and grand prix win. Yet the team is confident it has got the tools it needs to cast that disappointment aside and return to the front of the field again next year.

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history Prime

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history

It’s 60 years since BRM achieved its goal and Graham Hill led the team to a world title double. But that was just part of the remarkable story of a unique team that at times overstretched its resources and had its fair share of disappointments.

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever Prime

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever

OPINION: The effectiveness of DRS in Formula 1 remains a topic of debate as the winter break gives a chance for reflection on the racing we saw in 2022. For all of its detractors, perhaps an experiment where DRS is cast aside and the impact this has on racing is in order to truly understand its merits in modern F1.

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Prime

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2022
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022