McLaren told Hamilton that Button would not overtake in Turkey

Lewis Hamilton's lead may have been protected because of team orders

Lewis Hamilton's lead may have been protected because of team orders

The debate about last week’s Turkish Grand Prix has taken an interesting twist, with the news that Lewis Hamilton was told by his team that Jenson Button would not be attempting an overtake. While Button did soon get past, Hamilton quickly retook the position, and Jenson slowed down after that.

After the Red Bulls took each other out of contention, Lewis Hamilton was leading the race ahead of team-mate Jenson Button. Jenson was catching him from behind, as it is believed that Hamilton was instructed to start saving fuel. Before he did, Lewis asked on the radio: “If I back off is Jenson going to pass me or not?”. The team responded: “No, Lewis, no.”

This radio conversation happened before Jenson tried to get past Lewis, and the full conversation is as follows:

Lewis: Jenson’s closing in me you guys.
McLaren: Understood, Lewis.
Lewis: If I back off is Jenson going to pass me or not?
McLaren: No Lewis, no.

Soon after this, Jenson passed Lewis at Turn 12 on Lap 48. However, Lewis swiftly got back his position on Lap 49. On Lap 50, Phil Prew went on to the radio to both drivers, but it is unclear what he said. However, it is my guess that he instructed Button to back off. This is because Jenson never mounted a challenge to Hamilton after Lap 50.

Also, the team spoke to Button two laps later, saying: “We need more fuel saving. Fuel is critical. Save tyres in turn eight.” Many people speculate that this was in fact a coded message (since team orders are banned) for Jenson to not overtake Lewis.

All of this will do no help to alleviate people fears of team orders being used in modern F1. The radio conversation can be listened to on’s highlights of the race, which is available here.

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