Published: 12:45 | 31/7/17

Wolff fears decision may cost Hamilton the title

Toto Wolff admits Mercedes' decision to let Valtteri Bottas pass Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Hungarian GP could cost the Briton the F1 drivers' championship.

Bottas allowed Hamilton to overtake him into third place during the race to allow the three-time world champion the opportunity to chase down leader Sebastian Vettel, who was struggling with a handling issue with his Ferrari.

Mercedes acceded to Hamilton's request, as long as he ceded his position back to Bottas if he failed to overtake Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari.

Hamilton failed to catch the Ferraris, and the 32-year-old kept his part of the bargain and let Bottas through on the final corner despite pulling seven seconds clear of the Finn in the intervening laps.

Vettel leads Hamilton in the drivers' championship by 14 points going into the summer break.

"[The decision] cost us three points and could cost us the championship and we are perfectly conscious of that," said Mercedes team boss Wolff.

"But in terms of how the drivers and this team operates, we stick to what we say and if the consequences are as much as losing the championship, then we will take it."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner is not sure Mercedes' "driver equality" approach is conducive to winning the world championship title.

"We did the same in Monaco two years ago," he said.

"But when you're talking about the title, everything changes a little. Looking at Mercedes, the leader of the team is Hamilton, and at some point you have to choose who to bet on."

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Photo Getty Images/ Andrej Isakovic

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