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Wrong to give orders in Abu Dhabi: Wolff

AAP logoAAP 9/12/2016

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will escape unpunished for ignoring team orders in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which saw Nico Rosberg clinch the Formula One world title.

"In the heat of the moment, sometimes when you make decisions you get them wrong," Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff told Sky Sports on Friday.

"In our mind, the way we think, this race is giving us the same number of points as other races and we try to win that one, not considering that there was much more at stake for the drivers.

"How the race panned out, we should have communicated differently and in hindsight let them race in the way they deemed to be appropriate."

Hamilton was repeatedly told over team radio to speed up as he attempted to back Rosberg into traffic in a desperate attempt to retain the drivers' championship.

But Rosberg's sudden retirement after securing his maiden crown means Mercedes have more pressing matters to deal with ahead of February testing for the 2017 season.

A series of posts and adverts saying a driver is wanted have made light of the situation but with many top racers already tied to teams for next year, Mercedes cannot simply name whoever they wish to partner Hamilton.

Finding someone capable of driving one of the strongest cars on the grid is no small task even before the complex issue of team relations is taken into account.

Hamilton was previously a prickly partner for Fernando Alonso at McLaren and his time at Mercedes has been notable for on track spats with Rosberg along with his victories.

Wolff did not explicitly say Hamilton would have veto right over his new teammate but did admit that keeping the three-time world champion happy was a consideration.

"It is like many other employees," Wolff said.

"We will give Lewis the information once we've come to a point where we think it's a sensible decision and then inform him.

"It's very important to keep him in a good place. The dynamics between the two drivers is one of the factors we will consider."

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