Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn says that there is no number one at his team after Nico Rosberg was told not to challenge Lewis Hamilton during the closing stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was running in third place at Sepang, with Rosberg pleading with his team to allow him through to challenge the leading Red Bull drivers. Brawn informed Rosberg that he was not permitted to pass his team mate.
But Brawn insists that there is no preferential treatment given to either driver at Mercedes
“Of course Lewis wants to race – in the contractual negotiations we had with Lewis, never was the issue of who was number one or number two ever mentioned from his side,” Brawn told Sky Sports F1.
“All he wants is parity – he wants the same equipment, the same opportunity and that is great that he has that confidence and that approach that he doesn’t want favouritism – he just wants parity and I think that is what Lewis felt a little bit awkward about the situation.”
Brawn added that he does not like handing out such orders but maintains they were necessary.
“I don’t like having to take those decisions, but from a technical perspective we would have looked very foolish if we had run both cars out of fuel.”
“I think what wasn’t fully appreciated at the time is that we had a situation develop on both cars with fuel. We weren’t comfortable with either car and I could see a scenario with both drivers competing against each other, in a strong way, it is difficult to marry managing the fuel with a full blown fight with your team-mate.”