Red Bull blast Mercedes for putting Vowles in unfair situation over Hamilton issue

Utkarsh Bhatla
|Published 04/07/2018

The Lewis Hamilton outburst against the Mercedes team in Austria for the strategic VSC error has been the centre of all discussions post the grand prix.

Hamilton’s frustration just kept growing all through the race as he saw a grand prix slip out of his hands.

His retirement helped Vettel overtake him in the driver’s standings for 2018.

The radio exchange between Hamilton and Vowles saw Vowles apologise for his error, something that didn’t go down well with Christian Horner.

Horner went onto question Mercedes’ team dynamics, as he felt that singling out Vowles (the Mercedes strategist) wasn’t quite the right thing to do.

“It’s always difficult to know the intricacies of other teams but I think the one thing you have to do as a team is win as a team and lose as a team.

“That’s why we hardly at all, in success or failure, talk about individuals, because that puts an unfair amount of scrutiny and pressure on that individual.

“Certainly our philosophy is that as a team, it’s collective responsibility rather than an individual. Of course there has to be accountability, but it’s something that’s dealt with in the right environment behind closed doors and not in a public forum.” he added.

Horner feels that Vowles was put under the bus in order to keep Hamilton calm during the race. He admitted that Red Bull would never go down that path.

“I have never worked with Lewis and I don’t know what makes him tick and what doesn’t, but it a fairly bizarre thing to need to do for somebody to throw themselves under the bus to motivate a driver to go faster from fourth back into the lead.

“It’s not the way I operate. My view and my role as team principal of this team is that you’re here to protect your workforce to make sure they’re represented in the best possible way – that’s on the good days and on the bad days.” Horner said.

Mercedes however praised Vowles for owning up to his mistake.

“In this particular instance it was James showing an extremely broad pair of shoulders, standing up and saying ‘that was my mistake Lewis’ and I am sorry for it,” he said.

“It was very characteristic of James, but also a measure of how his team operates where people will hold up their hand when they have made a mistake, knowing that the team’s attitude to mistakes is that they are things that we learn from, rather than things that we throw blame around for or cause great polemics within the team.

“So it was a very good example of strong leadership by James trying to explain to Lewis what had happened. And the importance of that message meant that James wanted to give it personally rather than pass it through the intermediary of the race engineer.” he concluded.

Was Mercedes correct in putting one man under the bus for a strategic error? Or should they have just kept it as a collective mistake on part of the pitwall team?



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