Date: 8th December 2016 at 10:06am
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If you were still wondering if Mercedes were going to punish Lewis Hamilton following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, wonder no more.

Much like the often ‘Under Investigation’ warning messages we received on the world feed following racing incidents, only for a later message to be broadcast reading ‘no further action’, that is exactly what has happened at Mercedes following the 2016 Formula One World Championship finale at Abu Dhabi.

The duel in the desert was how the finale of the 2016 Formula One World Championship was billed.

In truth, there was no real duel, the battle had already been won.

Whilst Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton arrived in Abu Dhabi level on nine Grand Prix victories, Hamilton’s lack of reliability and Rosberg’s whole season without issues was the difference.

Rosberg knew that all he had to do was finish on the podium and Hamilton knew that winning the race was simply not enough.

On the grid before the race, everyone assumed that Hamilton would try to back-up Rosberg into a fight with the Red Bull’s and Ferrari’s, this was his only available tactic.

Mercedes, seemingly insistent on not wanting any interference for the championship and wanting their drivers to play the team game and finish one-two, tried to avoid this scenario and failed.

Despite Mercedes already clinching the Formula One constructors championship and a one-two finish in the drivers championship, they continued to interfere in the intense battle for the drivers title.

Mercedes threatened to give Rosberg the preferred pit-stop strategy if Hamilton tried to back up Rosberg, but once the pit-stops were over their influence was limited.

They asked Hamilton to speed up and the Brit unsurprisingly decided against this.

Hamilton was supposedly in line for a disciplinary which could have been as little as a fine, or as much as a race suspension or even sacking [summary of the papers by Sky Sports].

?Undermining a structure in public means you?re putting yourself before the team ? that?s very simple. Anarchy doesn?t work in any team or any company. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said to motorsport.com immediately following the race.

But following Nico Rosberg’s shock decision to retire with immediate affect from the sport, the balance of power at Mercedes has somewhat shifted.

Lewis Hamilton is now the undisputed main driver at the team, something as a three-time Formula One World Champion was a status that he should probably have been afforded before and with it, some slack.

With Mercedes attentions shifting towards replacing Rosberg, their stance on Hamilton softened.

Paddy Lowe, the person who gave Hamilton the instruction to speed up, said at the Autosport Awards as quoted by motorsport.com: ?When I told Lewis to speed up, the next debate on the pitwall came from Toto ? ‘tell him again, he hasn?t done it!’ ?

?So, I said ?no, because then I will look like a complete pillock if I do that again!?

?James [Vowles] who sits to my right is actually the most fantastic strategist, but it didn?t compute with him that the driver wasn?t going at the right speed. So he was struggling with that ? and said ?make him speed up or the graph shows we will lose.?

?So the conversation I was having, was ? ‘don?t you think once he sees the red car in the mirror he might put the throttle down a bit harder?’ So we were having our own debates. I put a marker down.?

 

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