Wolff: Mercedes made wrong call with Abu Dhabi GP team orders

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that his team was wrong to have tried to impose team orders on Lewis Hamilton at the Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Wolff: Mercedes made wrong call with Abu Dhabi GP team orders
Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid crosses the finish line at the end of the race with second place World Champion Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
World Champion Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 shakes hands with team mate and race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid

As Hamilton aimed to back up teammate Nico Rosberg into the chasing pack in a bid to boost his hopes of winning the title, Mercedes chiefs came on the radio to urge him to speed up.

With Mercedes clearly worried that Sebastian Vettel, on fresher tyres, would come through for the win, executive director Paddy Lowe even got involved to instruct Hamilton to pick up his pace.

In the end, Hamilton ignored the requests – claiming he had the race under control – and there were suggestions afterwards that Mercedes may have to rethink its approach to its racing protocol because of what happened.

Having had time to reflect on the situation, though, Wolff has now conceded that the pitwall should not have got involved at all, but says it did so out of genuine concern it was going to lose the grand prix.

"In the heat of the moment, sometimes when you make decisions you get them wrong," Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

"In our mind, the way we think, this race was giving us the same number of points as other races and we try to win that one - not considering that there was much more at stake for the drivers.

"How the race panned out, we should have communicated differently and in hindsight let them race in the way they deemed to be appropriate."

At the Autosport Awards last weekend, Lowe said he had come to realise that what happened in Abu Dhabi was okay for him.

"I think it was a great race result, a great ending not only for the team but for the sport as a whole – that will have really brought new fans to the sport," he said. "So it was a fantastic result even though I told Lewis to speed up.

"I think it was fine what happened. It is worth remembering in Monaco that we told Nico to let Lewis past and that was my other team instruction of the year, and he did that within one corner. So that is just for a bit of balance that is worth thinking about it."

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