Not one to miss an opportunity to gain any form of advantage, Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner has urged Lewis Hamilton to back Nico Rosberg into the chasing pack to disrupt the German’s focus.
A running theme of the season has seen Mercedes top brass commentate on Red Bull’s drivers (mainly Verstappen) and Horner pass comments on the Silver Arrows pair. From a PR perspective, Horner has done a great deal for Mercedes and Toto Wolff and Lauda have successfully given Verstappen the spotlight on many occasions. The latest comments from Horner seem to top the inter-team rivalry though…
“There’s no point Lewis being ahead by half a lap – if he’s smart he’s going to back the cars up so there is racing behind him because that’s the only way the result will fall his way. Nico has got everything to lose.
In reality a top three finish is a straightforward result for a Mercedes driver but he’s probably going to be watching his mirrors harder than everybody else in the field. He’s got everything at stake. Lewis’s job in some ways is easier as Nico is the one with the pressure on him to close out the championship.”
– Christian Horner
This is no stain on Hamilton’s character, who will no doubt focus entirely on himself and achieving the maximum. Remarkably, his pole-to-win conversion in the last three races is the first time he has achieved the feat in his Formula One career, a fourth weekend of perfection is all he can hope to achieve.
Daniel Ricciardo kindly points out that if Hamilton were to follow Horner’s advice and back Rosberg up, he would be one of the first on the scene to capitalize. He said,
“I’m sure he wants us to get up there but I think he should still focus on his race, because if he starts playing around, then we might beat him as well.”
– Daniel Ricciardo
For Rosberg to win the title, he needs to at least finish 3rd regardless of Hamilton’s result. There has only been five occasions this season in which Rosberg has finished 4th or lower, including the memorable double DNF at the Spanish Grand Prix. But despite overheated tensions between the Mercedes driver’s in the first-half of the season, both have quietly been just getting on with the job as of late – without the drama.