While a couple of DNFs for the Briton would be best, not to mention a return to the top step of the podium, the German would also benefit from the total support of his teammate.
Amidst the continuing controversy over last week’s use of team orders, which saw race leader Valtteri Bottas ordered to yield to his Silver Arrows teammate, Hamilton has admitted that he is surprised Ferrari hasn’t also adopted a similar practice.
“We’ve only had team orders in one race, but we have worked as a team in others,” the Briton told reporters at Suzuka. “There have been times when Valtteri hasn’t been in the top five and there has been a Ferrari, me and a Ferrari, and the Ferraris have worked together. The way they will do that is that they will stop one car, which means that I will have to stop.
“So they will work as a team in certain part of the year. But in crucial points like in Monza they haven’t,” he continued referring to the race where it all began to fall apart for Vettel and Ferrari, as Kimi Raikkonen appeared to do his own thing, both in qualifying and the race.
“Is that a surprise? Yeah,” he added. “They have done that in the past, so why they have changed I don’t know. But it is not my problem.”
That said, in the wake of last weekend’s race, Hamilton admitted to feeling “conflicted”.
“I don’t think you get your mind around it,” he admitted. “You have to accept it and move forwards, and I am definitely split, just like all the people have split opinions about it. On one side I feel one way about it, and on the other side I feel another way about it. But it has happened, it is done and dusted. But collectively as a team we’ve stayed quite united through the whole experience.”
Asked if he expected to see Bottas continue to play ‘wingman’, Hamilton said: “How I understand it is he has to do the best job he can on the weekend. I don’t arrive here thinking that Valtteri has to work for me. No.”