Max Verstappen has ignored team orders, but Sir Jackie Stewart didn’t make any public statements, other than saying future champions have to be ruthless. Fernando Alonso has ignored team orders but Sir Jackie Stewart didn’t make any public statements other than saying great champions have to be ruthless. Alain Prost ignored and controlled team orders but sir Jackie Stewart didn’t make any public statements other than saying great champions are ruthless.
Stewart has criticised drivers, such as Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, however, his tone has been more measured in his delivery of adjectives. Stewart has rarely spoken one-on-one with Hamilton, the pair occasionally meet briefly at F1 photocalls.
Sir Jackie Stewart is a former three times F1 world champion, he has driven against the greats during his time in the sport and when he finished his career he was the greatest F1 driver of all time before the Prost-Senna-Schumacher eras took over.
Stewart has invited Hamilton to meet him at his home, but Hamilton has never accepted this open invitation. Stewart has in the past made measured comments on Hamilton, saying he is quite an aggressive driver compared to Rosberg who adopts a much smoother style.
But after the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Stewart went into verbal attack mode railing against Hamilton for not listening to team orders. To recap Hamilton’s only chance of winning the 2016 driver’s title was to significantly slow his race pace and back his teammate into the inferior chasing pack.
Hamilton believed by doing so would put Rosberg under pressure, force him into a mistake and have him to finish outside the top three allowing Hamilton to make up the points deficit and win the championship. However, Mercedes wanted to end the last race of the season with a 1-2 finish.
Mercedes wanted to effectively fix the outcome of the race, it’s good for PR and marketing purposes for sure. But Hamilton is a racer and sometimes a racer has to make difficult decisions in the knowledge it will not be well received.
So Mercedes continually instructed Hamilton to speed up during the last 12 laps of the Abu Dhabi GP. Hamilton ignored team orders and for good reason because before the race Mercedes hierarchy insisted they would allow their drivers to race without individual instruction from the pitwall.
In the end, Hamilton’s tactics failed however his decision to ignore team orders has seemingly enraged Stewart who believes F1 drivers should display racing etiquette and put personal ambition to one side when it is required for the sake of the team.
Stewart believes Hamilton should have listened, that no driver is above the team and has called on Mercedes to punish their star driver.
On previous occasions, Stewart has called Hamilton immature but it was Stewart who showed a lack of maturity when he called Hamilton “a little ballerina” after the dust of Abu Dhabi had settled.
Stewart continued “Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda are not stupid people, and neither is the Mercedes chairman who often comes to grands prix.
“You cannot threaten a multi-national corporation of that size by one man who is just not doing it the right way.”
“Now, I am sorry, but when you are paid between 20 and 30 million pounds a year and you are told to do something you have got to do it. I don’t care who you are,” he bellowed in what seemed like an intimidating statement.
The very best racers in Formula One are not multi-national organisations, they can see past the corporate interplay. They have one instinctive mindset they are competitors and that’s what Hamilton was doing in Abu Dhabi. Competing.
Now we here on DCB are not in favour of one driver or another, we too have been critical of Hamilton, albeit his fashion sense or lack thereof. But when someone says “I’m sorry…” they are not truly sorry it’s just a figure of speech before a backhanded side-swipe-compliment is initiated.
Stewart’s rant against Hamilton and how he and he alone is obliged to listen to team orders in addition to how much money he is paid makes Stewart sound like a plantation owner from America’s Deep South, circa 1854.
It seems to us Stewart’s self-righteous rules only apply to Hamilton and no other driver. Also he doesn’t seem to like Hamilton’s lifestyle outside of F1. But he fondly remembers James Hunt whose lifestyle was much more brazen and who once urinated on an airplane during mid-flight. And no Hunt didn’t use the onboard lavatory.
So that begs the question, is Sir Jackie Stewart a racist who thinks black people in F1 are stereotypically lazy, should listen once and say “yas sur” while serving tea and being flogged? OK so we admit the headlines are OTT but as a proud Anglo-Saxon-Celt with friends from many ethnicities from across the globe, this does sound like Stewart is applying very harsh double standards.
Too often branding someone a racist is easy, it’s like throwing a hand grenade into the direction of the individual who is making what appear to be “coded” messages. But those messages however relayed may be subject to misinterpretation. In such cases it’s crucial to be objective, fair-minded and absolutely responsible when making a response.
What I am saying is Stewart needs to apply his criticism with much more consistency… Oh fuck it, in other words I am saying Stewart sounds like an immature racist.