Lowe thinks fan perception was decisive to Hamilton's Hungary decision

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Former Mercedes boss Paddy Lowe believes the perception from fans played a decisive role in Lewis Hamilton's decision to allow Valtteri Bottas through at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Briton would give up a third place finish in Budapest on the run to the finish line, honouring an agreement made during the race that saw his teammate let Lewis pass to attack the two Ferraris with the proviso that the 32-year-old would swap places back if unsuccessful.

In the past, given the seven-second gap Hamilton had built up in chasing the two leaders, many would have expected the triple world champion to stay ahead and take the extra points that could be vital to his championship, with his actions at the same race in 2014 a perfect example.

However, enjoying a strong relationship with Bottas since his arrival at the beginning of the year and given that image most have of him, Lowe thinks Hamilton felt he had to do the right thing.

"I think in the end it's about how you do it, not what you do and I think drivers get remembered for the way they perform as sportsmen and not necessarily their absolute results," the now Williams Technical Director said. I think that's a good bit of thinking for any race driver or any sportsman at all actually. And we can pick out examples in this sport.

"I think that's a good bit of thinking for any race driver or any sportsman at all actually and we can pick out examples in this sport.

"There are many drivers who we consider greats that didn't win that many races or championships, and that's because of the way they behaved. Stirling Moss is an example of that. I think that's the right line in the end if you're trying to make the right judgement about these things."

The one concern Hamilton and Mercedes now have is whether that decision could cost him in his battle with Sebastian Vettel for the Drivers' Championship with the gap now stood at 14 points compared to the 11 it would have been if he had stayed in third.

Hamilton himself admitted it was a heart-over-head call with both he and Lowe well aware of the consequences of having two cars in a championship fight.

"There's never a good answer to that one," Lowe said on the situation Mercedes faced. "In any team, you want to keep it clear to both drivers that they have the opportunity to win the championship. That keeps them motivated in their own right to win races, which is what you need for the team result.

"The worst example of that was 2007 at McLaren where we had two drivers who missed the drivers' championship by one point. It doesn't get worse than that."