'Unwell' Lewis Hamilton pulls out of F1 tyre test days after championship defeat

Lewis Hamilton has pulled out of tyre testing in Abu Dhabi after feeling unwell a few laps in.
Mark Thompson/ Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton has pulled out of tyre testing in Abu Dhabi after feeling unwell a few laps in.

Triple world champion Lewis Hamilton has pulled out of a Formula 1 tyre test in Abu Dhabi after a few laps because he felt unwell.

The Briton lost his title to German team-mate Nico Rosberg at the circuit at the weekend in a race that left Hamilton embroiled in controversy over his driving tactics and defiance of direct team orders to speed up.

Mercedes said on Tuesday (NZT Wednesday), Hamilton had completed some early runs using the wider 2017 Pirelli tyres before handing over to German reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein.

Lewis Hamilton drives his silver arrow Mercedes F1 car in Abu Dhabi.
Lars Baron/ Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton drives his silver arrow Mercedes F1 car in Abu Dhabi.

The Briton, who won the grand prix at the weekend at a deliberately slow pace in a bid to back the second-placed Rosberg into the chasing pack, had been due to test all day.

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The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was the venue for early post-season tyre testing.
Mark Thompson/ Getty Images

The Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was the venue for early post-season tyre testing.

"Pascal was on standby. Lewis felt unwell so Pascal took over," a team spokesman said.

Rosberg was in Malaysia with team boss Toto Wolff, who is still assessing his response to Hamilton's actions on Sunday, for an event organised by sponsors Petronas.

It was the second time in just over a month that Hamilton had pulled out of a tyre test for medical reasons in the immediate aftermath of controversy.

In October, after a Japanese Grand Prix during which he snubbed the media following criticism for playing around with Snapchat during a news conference, he was ruled out of a test in Barcelona due to a sore foot.

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That test came days after Mercedes had won the constructors' championship, with Rosberg taking victory in the race at Suzuka.

That would prove to be Rosberg's last victory of the season, with Hamilton winning the final four from pole position to take his tally to 10 for the season.

HAMILTON GO-SLOW HANGOVER

Wolff was still pondering how to deal with Hamilton's driving tactics in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but has accepted it was something the three-time world champion needed to do.

Wolff had warned after the race of potential "anarchy" and possible disciplinary action after Hamilton ignored clear instructions as he battled with team-mate Nico Rosberg for the title.

"I have not made up my mind. I can understand why he drove the way he drove, it was his instinct," Wolff said on Tuesday (NZT Wednesday).

"He needed to do it. Our system has made them win many races, but has also created that air of dominance ... but again, let's discuss at a later stage."

Hamilton, who won the race in Abu Dhabi but lost his title to Rosberg, slowed the pace deliberately in a bid to back his team-mate into a position where rivals could overtake the German, who only needed to finish on the podium.

Wolff said the move openly undermined the structure of the team for whom Hamilton secured 10 race victories and 12 pole positions this season.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel described Hamilton's tactics as "dirty tricks" while Rosberg said his teammate's driving made for a difficult race, but felt the situation was too hypothetical to merit further discussion.

"It's about the world championship so he decided to try everything out there. So in a way it is understandable even though it was very very tough as a result," the German said.

 - Reuters

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