It has been revealed that Lewis Hamilton was told by McLaren that team-mate Jenson Button would not try to pass him in the Turkish GP just over a week ago – shortly before his fellow Briton did just that.
While the coming-together of Red Bull team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber stole the headlines in Turkey, the wheel-to-wheel duel between Hamilton and Button in the closing stages of the race could just as easily have ended in tears.
Both drivers had been instructed by the team to save fuel. But it has since emerged that while Lewis was given a target lap time – one that the 25-year-old later said was ‘definitely a bit too slow’ – Jenson was not, which might have been the catalyst for the ‘miscommunication’ that led to the pair briefly flirting with disaster.
In a video posted on the official F1 website, Lewis can be heard telling his team over his pit-to-car radio that ‘Jenson is closing in on me… if I back off is Jenson going to pass me or not?’. To which he was told in no uncertain terms by his race engineer Andy Latham: ‘No, Lewis, no.’
“It was tricky in those closing laps, because we knew we were pretty marginal on fuel, but the team lets us race and that’s exactly what we did,” explained Button.
Relations between the McLaren boys appeared a little strained in the immediate aftermath of the race and up on the podium, with Lewis overheard asking Jenson what the move had all been about. Both have since summed it up as a simple racing incident.