|© AP Photo/Jon Super
A ‘shocking’ team order dwarfed Lewis Hamilton’s efforts of finishing on the podium despite starting from the pit lane and beating teammate Nico Rosberg, who started the Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday.
After two safety cars and rain earlier in the race forced teams to alter their strategies, the Mercedes drivers found themselves in unfamiliar territory of not leading from the front.
Rosberg, racing on a three-stopper, caught up with the two-stopping Hamilton on lap 47 when the team radioed the Briton not to hold up his teammate as he was on a different strategy and was due to pit soon.
"Let Nico past on the main start-finish straight," instructed Mercedes.
"I'm not slowing down for Nico,” replied Hamilton, suggesting that he would lose plenty of time were he to lift off on the straight. “If he gets close he can pass me."
Hamilton, who had pitted for a fresh set of tyres on lap 40, said a bit later that he couldn’t imagine his tyres lasting the final 23 laps hinting that he might need to pit again as well and maintained his position.
"Why isn't he not letting me through?" a frustrated Rosberg asked his team on lap 50, and he repeated the question two laps later to which Mercedes replied that Hamilton had been requested to do so.
The pair continued the procession before Rosberg pitted on lap 57 following which he was asked to deliver “qualifying laps” to the finish.
He caught up with Hamilton towards the end with the two battling for the final step of the podium, wherein the Briton prevailed and slashed his deficit in the championship to 11 points.
"Just because he had one more stop than me doesn't mean I am not in same race," reasoned Hamilton after the race. "If I let him past then he could pull away and come back at me later.
"I was very, very shocked that the team would ask me to do that,” he added. "He didn't get close enough to overtake, I was not going to lift off and lose ground to Fernando (Alonso) or Daniel (Ricciardo), so it was a bit strange."