Lewis Hamilton has no qualms about his controversial unlapping move on Sebastian Vettel in Germany – and says he would expect to be fired by his team if he didn’t always race as hard as he could.
Hamilton generated strong criticism from Vettel after getting between the German and Fernando Alonso at Hockenheim.
“People have had opinions on it,” he said when asked about the move by this writer. “But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter whether I’m first or last, I’m a racer. I race my heart out wherever I am, even if I know in the back of my mind that I can’t get any points, I’m still paid to push at all times. I would expect that if I was a team boss.
“I know my team expect that from me. You would have thought that people would expect that from Fernando, people would expect that from Sebastian, so that’s what I did. I felt quite relaxed after the race knowing that I did. If I’d given up and just pootled around, I would expect to be fired.”
Lewis insisted that he didn’t treat his move on Vettel with any more caution than if it had been a straight fight.
“It never came into my mind. It was racing, it was quite easy, tactical racing. You know that Sebastian is a smart driver, so it’s not like racing with some of the other guys, you know that he’s not going to do anything stupid. And I wasn’t planning to do anything stupid either.”
Hamilton also explained how he had talked to the team before he decided to take on Vettel.
“I did speak to the team before. I said, ‘What do you want me to do?’. I had Jenson several seconds behind me. He wasn’t in a position to overtake, but I wasn’t falling back, so the gap was staying the same, and I was quicker than the guys in front. ‘I said what do I do here? I don’t want to get in the way of Jenson.’
“They said you can either pull over and risk the chance of getting in the way of Jenson, or you can try to unlap yourself. And so I decided to unlap myself. I had plenty of pace, I had new tyres, so that’s what I did.”
Asked if was surprised that Alonso hadn’t then let him by, he added: “He doesn’t like to overtaken by me! I wouldn’t expect anything more or less from him.”