Despite extending his championship lead to fifty points, it was an emotional, sombre Lewis Hamilton who faced reporters following today’s Russian Grand Prix.
While Mercedes decision to invoke team orders put the sport’s $100m deal to allow in-race live betting in a completely different perspective, race winner Hamilton admits that the move left him with conflicting emotions.
“Honestly, when I got the call that they had said that to Valtteri, I don’t know if you heard me, but I just said ‘tell him to speed up’,” he told reporters.
“So they told me on the radio that Valtteri is going to let you go, which is not what I wanted, and I just said ‘tell him to speed up’ because I had Sebastian on my tail and it was getting quite close.
“Naturally, passing him didn’t feel good in that instance in Turn 13,” he continued, “and I don’t know what was planned for the end. I was waiting to get some news or something like that.
“I knew that the team wanted it to end that way, they had make that call it confirmed to me they wanted it to end that way. But honestly it’s very, very hard to find the right words… It’s a very strange feeling. We’ve had a 1-2, we’ve dominated as a team this weekend, the team has done an incredible job.
“But it’s never, ever in my whole life, ever been the way I wanted to win a race. I just wanted to shine on to Valtteri, there’s not many teammates that would do something like that.
“I definitely don’t think I have ever finished first and felt the way I do right now,” he admitted. “It’s definitely a very conflicting feeling because naturally you want to extend the championship lead and we are a team, yet there’s two championships, a team championship and a drivers’ championship, so it’s quite a conflicting season and team effort.
“Anyways, as I said, Valtteri has done an exceptional job all weekend and did a great job with qualifying yesterday and you could see how happy I was for him there.”