Despite winning the final race of the 2016 Formula One season, Lewis Hamilton had to settle for runners-up spot in the Drivers Championship after his Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, finished second in a dramatic Abu Dhabi race to clinch the title.
And, whilst the British driver will be disappointed not to have clinched his fourth title, that may be the least of his worries after Hamilton found himself in hot water with Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ head of motorsport.
The issue? Hamilton's apparently repeatedly ignoring team instructions during the race in an attempt to gain an advantage that would allow him to leapfrog Rosberg in the standings.
There were two occasions in particular where the three-time champion obviously disobeyed orders from the Mercedes hierarchy.
First, he chose to ignore a command to pick up the pace as he was clearly trying to allow Sebastien Vettel in third place to overtake Rosberg in second. This was followed by snapping at technical director Paddy Lowe after another instruction.
Ultimately his attempts were futile as his German teammate celebrated a title win on Sunday. As for Hamilton, Mr. Wolff refused to rule out a suspension for the driver after his actions.
“One half of me says that with 1,500 people in this company, you respect those values,” he said, via The Telegraph.
“Undermining a structure means you are putting yourself before the team. It is very simple. Anarchy does not work in any team or in any company.”
“Everything is possible," he continued when asked about a potential suspension for Hamilton.
The rivalry between Hamilton and Rosburg has been intense throughout the season, despite the fact they are Mercedes teammates.
Whether the events of today are enough to see a change in the driver lineup for next season remains to be seen.
For Hamilton's part, he denied any wrongdoing.
“I don’t think I did anything dangerous,” he said. “I was in the lead, so I control the pace. Those are the rules.”
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