Former DTM champion Gary Paffett, in letting his teammate Robert Wickens pass at Moscow Raceway’s DTM Race 1, loses a shot at victory.
— Autotestdrivers.com (@testdrivernews) August 3, 2016
Paffett, who started off as polesitter after Saturday trials, allowed Mercedes’ teammate Robert Wickens to pass at Turn 3 of the first green flag lap with a wide turn. As Paffett dropped back, teammate and contender Paul di Resta overcame Paffett to take P2.
— TouringCarTimes (@TouringCarTimes) August 21, 2016
Not all fans were happy with Paffett’s decision to cooporate with teammates. Some speculated that Paffett was ordered to drop back and let his teammates through.
“It wasn’t a team order, I never got told to let him past. We all know what the aim is here and the aim is to win the championship.” He stressed that DTM is a team sport, even if fans don’t see it that way: “They have to see it from our point of view…We have eight cars out there, we have a third of the grid. It’s a team sport. It’s gonna happen, it’s natural. We have to do it because everyone else is doing it, but at the end, it is a team sport, we work as a team.”
But admittedly, the loss was frustrating for Paffett, who has not won a race in the series since 2013.
“Of course I want to win the race. I think it is a moral victory maybe.”
But he was all class when it came to praising his younger teammate:
“So far this season Robert has done an incredible job and right at the start, when I saw him behind me, I wasn’t going to make it very difficult for him, to be honest. So I let him go, let him sort of control the race from there.
I’ve had a couple of races where I’ve had failures or something went wrong and I didn’t get enough points. Robert’s got a lot more points than me so at the start of the race, when I saw him behind me, I knew what I had to do. And he’s now leading the championship so it was the right thing to do.”
“I’ve won the championship with the help from my teammates and hopefully this year we’re gonna put Robert in a good chance to do that. This isn’t, hopefully, my last year in DTM and I can come back and win every race next year maybe.”
It’s nice when a race isn’t always about… well, winning. Sometimes, it’s even better when the attitude’s “After you,” vs. “Me first”.