Lewis Hamilton blames Red Bull 'problems' on their own policy of driver inequality
2008 World Champ denies holding 'number one status' at Merc
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 26/03/13 11:25am
Lewis Hamilton: Insists he won't enjoy preferential treatment over Rosberg
Lewis Hamilton has hit back at Red Bull as the row over team orders at the Malaysian GP shows no sign of abating.
While Sebastian Vettel's refusal to obey instructions not to challenge team-mate Mark Webber for victory has dominated the post-race debate, Mercedes were embroiled in their own controversy after Nico Rosberg was ordered by Silver Arrows Team Principal Ross Brawn not to overtake Hamilton for third place at the end of the grand prix.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 immediately after the race, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko declared that the World Champions operated "not like at Mercedes where there's a clear number one and number two" - a barbed claim which has drawn a withering response from an unimpressed Hamilton.
"That is rubbish," Hamilton told reporters. "They [Red Bull] have a clear one and two, they always have. And that is why they have the problems they have always had.
"We don't have a one and two here. I have always said, from the moment I was speaking to the team, that I wanted equality and that I didn't want to be favoured.
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"They didn't even offer to favour me but I just wanted to make the point that I am not a driver that comes and requests that like a lot of other drivers do.
"You have to be able to look yourself in the mirror and say you won fair and square. Just like in Malaysia, I don't feel like I won my spot fair and square. Although I did drive a decent race, I don't feel spectacular about it."
Hamilton offered Rosberg an apology for claiming third place ahead of his team-mate despite the German possessing a clear pace advantage over the closing stages. The refusal of Brawn to permit Rosberg to race Hamilton to the line has prompted speculation the Englishman's deal with Mercedes may include a clause which grants him preferential treatment, but the 2008 World Champion has strongly denied that is the case.
Asked whether the subject of 'number one status' had been raised during negotiations, Hamilton clarified: "It didn't. I remember just saying to Ross that I wanted equality on the team."