Lewis Hamilton reluctant to follow team orders as George Russell outperformed him

Lewis Hamilton recovered to sixth in Miami after starting the race in 13th, several places behind George Russell.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton did well on Sunday to recover from a disastrous qualifying at the Miami Grand Prix, with the Mercedes driver having come home in sixth.

After being eliminated in Q2 on Saturday at the Miami International Autodrome, Hamilton’s hopes for the race certainly weren’t high.

The 38-year-old started the race from 13th on the grid and actually remained there for the opening phase of the 57-lap race, as he struggled to overtake those on the Medium compound.

Mercedes opted to start the 103-time race winner on the white-walled Hard compound, in a bid to switch to the middle compound towards the end of the race.

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Hamilton clearly wasn’t convinced about the tyre strategy in the opening laps, with the Briton having informed his team that the car might not make it to the end.

However, as those on the yellow-walled Medium tyres began to pit, Hamilton’s pace increased, allowing him to progress into the top 10.

Team-mate George Russell was on the opposite strategy to Hamilton and started the race on the Medium compound, meaning he found himself behind the veteran following his pit-stop.

With Russell having been on fresher tyres his pace was significantly better than Hamilton’s, who was continuing to run as deep into the race as possible.

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As a result, Mercedes informed Hamilton that he wasn’t racing Russell due to the differing strategies, perhaps in an attempt to get the Stevenage-born driver to let the former Williams driver pass without difficulty.

Whilst Hamilton didn’t deny the team’s instructions, he made it perfectly clear that he wasn’t going to slow down for his team-mate.

“He can go by but I’m not backing off though,” Hamilton informed the team, before Russell swept past.

Russell eventually worked his way all the way up to fourth having started from sixth, whilst Hamilton went on a late charge following his one and only stop.

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Hamilton did well to overtake Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc in the closing laps, elevating the Mercedes driver into sixth.

The result was arguably the best that Hamilton could’ve asked for ahead of the Grand Prix, given that he was eliminated in Q2 on American soil for the first time in his F1 career.

His P6 finish ensured that he maintained fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, 16 points ahead of Russell.