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Hamilton finds an unlikely ally in old foe

Lewis Hamilton has found a surprise ally in the aftermath of the team orders controversy that unfolded during the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Niki Lauda, Mercedes' non-executive chairman, has already given Hamilton his full support after the Englishman refused to allow his team-mate Nico Rosberg past when instructed to do so as the pair were running split strategies.

Hamilton opted to stand his ground, believing he had a shot at victory himself at the Hungaroring, saying afterwards he was "very, very shocked" at Mercedes' stance. Lauda also said Mercedes were in panic mode as the race played out in amid crashes and safety cars.

Now Hamilton has been backed by Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, who is no stranger himself to a team orders saga given what unfolded in last year's Malaysia Grand Prix and the 'multi-21' furore.

On that occasion, Sebastian Vettel was told to hold station behind then team-mate Mark Webber, only to ignore and go on and claim what was then a highly-contentious win.

Assessing Mercedes' position in this instance, Horner said: "Inevit­ably it is very difficult because you have the objective of the team and the objectives of the drivers. The interesting thing at Mercedes this year is because they have such an advantage they have let their drivers race.

"As they are not under threat in the constructors' championship, you can understand Lewis, he is fighting Nico. If he lets him run his fastest strategy it puts himself under ­pressure, so it is entirely understandable from Lewis' point of view to say 'not today, thanks'."

Horner has been left confused by Mercedes' position given the ­Brackley-based marque have previously not interfered, and instead allowed their drivers to go wheel to wheel at times. "They are in a situ­ation where they have let the guys race openly this year," he added. "So it would then be strange when they are racing again [in Hungary] to let one run his fastest strategy."

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