Lewis Hamilton believes that the statement issued following Mercedes’ meeting concerning his on-track battles with teammate Nico Rosberg “doesn’t really change anything” in terms of defining his own destiny in races.
Hamilton and Rosberg clashed on the final lap of last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, prompting Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff to suggest that team orders may be used in the future to prevent a repeat.
Following meetings involving Hamilton, Rosberg, Wolff and technical team boss Paddy Lowe on Thursday, Mercedes issued a statement confirming that its drivers remained free to race.
However, Mercedes confirmed it has “strengthened our rules of engagement to include much greater deterrents to contact between our cars.
“With these in place, we will trust our drivers to manage the situation between them on track. Their destiny is in their own hands.”
Speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference ahead of the British Grand Prix, Hamilton said that he does not feel anything has changed in that regard.
“In all honesty, I think our destiny has always been in our hands,” Hamilton said.
“It doesn’t really change anything. We’re still able to race which is a positive.
“No team orders, which I think is great for the fans, so I think everyone should be excited.”
When asked about the deterrents Mercedes cited in its statement and whether they were scary, Hamilton replied: “I guess I should say yes…”
Hamilton was asked if moves such as those he pulled on Rosberg in last year’s Japanese Grand Prix and the United States Grand Prix in Austin – in both he forced Rosberg wide – would still be allowed.
“Everything that’s been said is private and confidential,” Hamilton replied.
“But we’re still able to race. Obviously in all of those races, the stewards deemed me racing, so I will still race like that.”
Hamilton was also asked about the incident with Rosberg at the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix and whether he would go against team orders to stay ahead on-track. Hamilton was asked to let Rosberg through, but said he would only do so if he got close enough behind.
“Oh buddy… You’re feeling a certain way,” Hamilton replied.
“You’ve got to let it go buddy, that’s a couple of years ago.
“I would [move aside]. It’s my job. It’s what I’m paid to do. It’s what’s in our agreement.
“If you go back to 2014 and understand our [radio] transcript, I didn’t say no. I said I wouldn’t get in the way.”