Lewis Hamilton insisted he’s a team player after he appeared to clash with Mercedes team orders in the 2023 Miami Grand Prix, before allowing George Russell through soon after to avert a crisis.
Russell was the lead Silver Arrow all weekend but when Mercedes asked Hamilton to allow his teammate through, Hamilton seemed to suggest he wouldn’t compromise his running and Russell would need to make the overtake on merit.
However, a few corners later Russell did indeed slide past his teammate and thanked Hamilton afterwards for letting him by.
“George and I, he started sixth so we were in a bit of a different race,” Hamilton told reporters when asked post-race about the situation.
“Of course I’m a team player, I want to get the team the maximum points.
“The first 20 laps were a little bit difficult because we were in the DRS train but after that I was able to start chipping away.
“I really enjoyed battling with all the different cars and it was great in the end to be able to catch the Alpine and overtake a Ferrari.”
Hamilton relished Leclerc battle
Starting 13th after his Q2 elimination, Hamilton found himself stuck in traffic early in the race, in a DRS train led by Valtteri Bottas that also featured Nico Hulkenberg, Alex Albon and Yuki Tsunoda.
He ran long on hist first stint while Russell pitted on the favoured strategy, but as the track became less concentrated Hamilton was able to open up and finished the race with a neat move on the inside of Charles Leclerc.
That earned him the same sixth-place finish as a week earlier in Baku, though this time two places behind Russell rather than ahead.
However, Hamilton was glowing after the race and said he’d enjoyed chasing the carrot of the Ferrari.
“It felt great to see the Ferrari up ahead and be just catching him bit by bit, Hamilton said.
“It’s really impressive, they’re so quick over a single lap, but I don’t know what was going on within their race.
“To come from 13th and then get back into the tussle with them was great. I think if we had qualified where I should’ve probably qualified, I would have had a much easier, smoother day.
“But I prefer days like this where there’s a bit of adversity and you have to put it all together and deliver.”