Formula 1

Sir Jackie Stewart calls for Mercedes to punish Lewis Hamilton

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Formula One welcomed a new champion in Nico Rosberg after Lewis Hamilton won back-to-back titles in preceding seasons.

However, the incident involving the Mercedes drivers during the closing stages took the limelight at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend.

The tactics adopted by Hamilton in the race to confirm his third championship in as many years, and fourth overall, came under intense scrutiny from all quarters.

Sir Jackie Stewart has now given his take on the issue and has asked Mercedes to take strict actions against their own driver.

Labelling the former champion as a ‘little ballerina’, the legend believes the antics deserve a worthy punishment from the team hierarchy.

Hamilton deliberately slowed his pace which in effect backed Rosberg into the chasing Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.

He also ignored the team orders from executive director Paddy Lowe twice in the process, and although he won the race, he failed to deter his teammate from finishing second.

Speaking on the matter to the Press Association, as reported by ESPN, Stewart said: “I think he [Hamilton] can be a little ballerina. Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda are not stupid people, and neither is the Mercedes chairman who often comes to grands prix.

“You cannot threaten a multi-national corporation of that size by one man who is just not doing it the right way. Give him the option of ‘either do it our way or you have to be excused’.”

The three-time world champion also focused on the fact that being the best-paid driver in the top flight of racing and commanding such astronomical salary, doesn’t give Hamilton the right to disobey team orders, even if the world title is on the line.

He added: “Lewis was refusing their instructions, and he was going against the management team. Now, I am sorry, but when you are paid between 20 and 30 million pounds a year and you are told to do something you have got to do it. I don't care who you are.”

‘The Flying Scot’ is of the opinion that Mercedes must set an example for the upcoming years by handling the matter in a way that a serious penalty is imposed on the driver.

“It is not the first time he has gone against instructions, and if he is going to continue to do that they have the choice of dropping him. He only does 21 races a year. It is no big deal. We worked our asses off [in the old days] to make decent money, and they don't even do much testing now."

Formula 1

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