Lewis Hamilton has found a surprise ally following the team orders controversy that unfolded during the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Mercedes’ non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has already given Hamilton his full support after the Briton refused to allow team-mate Nico Rosberg by when instructed as the duo were running split strategies.
Hamilton opted to stand his ground believing he had a shot at victory himself at the Hungaroring, conceding afterwards he was “very, very shocked” at Mercedes’ stance.
Lauda also stated Mercedes were in panic mode as a difficult race played out given the conditions, crashes and safety cars.
Now Hamilton has been backed by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, no stranger himself to a team orders saga given what unfolded in last year’s Malaysia Grand Prix and the ‘multi-21’ furore.
On that occasion, Sebastian Vettel was told to hold station behind then team-mate Mark Webber, only to ignore and go on and claim what was then a highly-contentious win.
Assessing Mercedes’ position in this instance, Horner said: “Inevitably it is very difficult because you have the objective of the team and the objectives of the drivers.
“The interesting thing at Mercedes this year is because they have such an advantage they have let their drivers race.
“As they are not under threat in the constructors’ championship, so you can understand Lewis, he is fighting Nico.
“If he lets him run his fastest strategy it puts himself under pressure, so it is entirely understandable from Lewis’ point of view to say ‘not today thanks’.”
Horner has been left confused by Mercedes’ position given the Brackley-based marque have previously not interfered, and instead allowed their drivers to go wheel to wheel at times.
“They are in a situation where they have let the guys race openly this year,” added Horner.
“So it would then be strange when they are racing again (in Hungary) to let one run his fastest strategy.”