Mic check: Lewis Hamilton “played extremely fair” when he offered to let his teammate pass him in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff praised Lewis Hamilton for his “extremely fair play” when he offered to let his team mate overtake him during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton makes shock Mercedes claim despite poor qualifying in Japan | The Independent

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Hamilton sustained minor damage to his front-right end plate when he and Charles Leclerc touched in turn three at the restart of yesterday’s race. The flick on the outside of the endplate was cracked, and the loss of front downforce gradually became apparent as the first stint wore on.

 

Mercedes put Hamilton and George Russell onto hard tyres for the restart. Although the damage was slight, Hamilton noticed the increase in understeer as he wasn’t able to match the lap times of Leclerc ahead of him even as the Ferrari driver ran longer on his medium compound tyres:

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With Russell closing behind him, and despite any obvious prompt from his team, Hamilton offered to let his team mate by. It cost him around a second to do this, but Russell was able to immediately improve his pace by around eight tenths of a second per lap.

“That was extremely fair play,” Wolff told Channel 4 after the race. “It wasn’t like he was giving up a position for a podium [but] it was really trying to understand why wasn’t he fast at that stage.”

Mercedes increased Hamilton’s front wing angle during both of his visits to the pits to compensate. By the end of the race his lap times improved and in the final stint, by which time both Mercedes had switched to the medium tyre compound, Hamilton began to close on Russell, who was fighting Oscar Piastri ahead of him.

Racefans’s photo

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