Ecclestone fumes over “stupid” team orders

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Bernie Ecclestone was not happy at seeing the closing laps of the Malaysian Grand Prix shaped by team orders.

Both Red Bull and Mercedes issued instructions to their drivers to hold position while running in the top for places of the race.

Ecclestone criticized both teams in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

“At this stage of the championship, I do not believe there should be any team orders. It does not matter who it is,” said Ecclestone.

While much attention has focused on Red Bull after Sebastian Vettel defied an instruction not to overtake Mark Webber, Ecclestone targeted his criticism at Mercedes as well. Team principal Ross Brawn repeatedly ordered Nico Rosberg not to pass Lewis Hamilton.

“I was disappointed that Mercedes didn’t let Rosberg go past,” said Ecclestone. “I thought that was a stupid decision. I think Rosberg could have chased the two Red Bulls down a little more. That decision wasn’t sensible.”

Meanwhile Red Bull responded to criticism of their tactics and Vettel’s response to them by issuing a statement:

“Following Sunday’s race in Malaysia, there is obviously a lot of opinion and comment. As advised on Sunday, this situation will be dealt with internally.

“It’s worth noting that this is not an entirely new situation for us. At Infiniti Red Bull Racing, we have two drivers who both want to win races and championships and this has been the case since Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel started driving together in 2009.

“Together, the driver pairing of Mark and Sebastian has achieved 35 wins, 80 podiums, 13 one-two finishes and six FIA Formula One world championships. This successful period includes some spells of intense on-track rivalry between our drivers.

“Each incident has been managed in our own way behind closed doors and this will be no different.”

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.