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Hamilton: no regrets about handing position back to Bottas

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungarian Grand prix
© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton says that he had no regrets surrendering third place in the Hungarian Grand Prix to his team mate Valtteri Bottas.

The decision to slow in the last corner and allow Bottas to take the final podium position cost Hamilton three points in the drivers championship.

But Hamilton said he was merely fulfilling his promise made earlier in the race, when Bottas had agreed to let him pass to try attacking the Ferraris.

"It's tough in the championship, but I'm a man of my word," said Hamilton. "I did say 'Have him let me by and if I can't overtake [Raikkonen] then [I'll give the position back.]'"

Hamilton found no way past the Ferrari, but it looked like the team might have left the decision to 'reinvert' their drivers too late. In the final laps, Red Bull's Max Verstappen was on fresher tyres and rapidly closing up on the back of Bottas.

"Slowing down seven seconds, I was nervous about losing a place to Verstappen - but fortunately I didn't," said Hamilton.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff acknowledged that the decision to restore Bottas to third place could come back to haunt the team.

"It's one of the most difficult calls we had to make in the last couple of years.

"We could lose the championship because of those three points," he agreed. "But this spirit has made us win three championships, and it's going to make us win more.

"Maybe one day someone will say we were naive in Budapest and this cost us the championship," he conceded. "But I still believe the values are important under which you operate, and we stand by those.

"Verstappen was so close to Valtteri that we couldn't possibly know whether it would work. But we took the risk because it is important to stick to our word.

"We did it in full consciousness," he added. "This is the ethos and the spirit that we have, not only on track - not only the drivers - but also within the team in Brixworth, Brackley and Stuttgart.

"We stand to our values," he repeated..

The situation had been made worse by the team losing radio communications with Hamilton earlier in the race. It meant Hamilton couldn't ask his team what was happening with the cars ahead of him on track.

"It wasn't perfect, but it came back in the end," Hamilton said. "We managed it the best way we could.

"I didn't know why [Ferrari was so slow]," he said. "I was thinking they were worried about the tyres not going the distance. Maybe they were going slow and would speed up later, but it wasn't the case."

The radio blackout meant Hamilton was unable to tell his team what his situation was.

"I was pushing and had all this pace, but I was stuck behind Valtteri and couldn't tell the team that I had all this pace, to let me go and catch them up.

"I wasted I don't know how many laps I was behind," he said. "But my tyres took a real beating behind. But when I did get by I gave it everything I could.

"I got boxed up behind a backmarker and went on some dirt - some rubber - on the outside of the track. The tyres started to drop after that."

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