Lewis Hamilton puts 'heart above head' in letting Valtteri Bottas past
Mercedes driver vows to fight for the title 'the right way'; Mercedes driver enters summer break 14 points behind Vettel in title race
By James Galloway in Budapest
Last Updated: 01/08/17 9:07pm
Lewis Hamilton said he acted more with his "heart" than his head in letting Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas back through for a podium in the Hungarian GP.
Hamilton surrendered third place at the final corner of Sunday's race as the victorious Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag.
The Mercedes driver insisted he wanted to win the world title "the right way", despite sacrificing three extra points to Vettel by honouring an agreement to fall back behind Bottas to fourth if he could not overtake the second-placed Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said it was "probably the most difficult" call the team have had to make in the last five seasons and Hamilton admitted it was against normal racing instincts.
Asked if it was a decision more of the heart or the head, Hamilton said: "More from the heart probably. The mind is more cut-throat, every point counts, and it's do-or-die.
"But it was the right thing to do."
Speaking to Sky F1 immediately after the race, Wolff conceded: "We could lose a championship because of those three points."
But the Mercedes boss added: "This spirit has made us win three championships and it will make us win more."
Bottas thanked Hamilton for letting him back through for third and admitted "not every team-mate would do that".
Had Mercedes decided to keep Hamilton, their lead championship runner, in third then the Englishman would be 11 rather than 14 points adrift of race winner Vettel heading into the summer break.
Like Wolff, Hamilton is aware the decision to switch the order could ultimately come back to haunt the team, but made clear he wanted to do the honourable thing.
"I don't know whether that could come back to bite me in the backside or not, but I said at the beginning of the year I want to win it the right way and today was the right way to do things," he added.
Hamilton and Mercedes defend position swap
Hamilton said the fact he had pulled so far clear of Bottas by the final lap - seven seconds - complicated the situation, but said he did not want to renege on his promise to the team.
"For whatever reason I was the quicker car today and it's kind of a grey area, because if he had let me by and I had pulled him along and we were two seconds apart, then it's a much easier thing to let him back," he added.
"But obviously I was seven seconds up ahead and just with the Ferraris, the team were in a difficult position. But today really shows hopefully that I am a man of my word and also that I am a team player. I'm just as much a part of this team as anyone and we are working together better than we ever have. Today shows unity.
"I think in life if you do good things, good things do come back to you."
Don't miss the F1 Report on Wednesday at 8.30pm on Sky F1 as Formula 2 driver Jordan King and Marc Priestley join Natalie Pinkham to review the Hungarian GP.
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