Ross Brawn says Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both have equal status at Mercedes
Rosberg was told to stay behind Hamilton in Malaysia
By William Esler. Last Updated: 08/04/13 8:06am
Ross Brawn has insisted there is no number one driver at Mercedes after the team told Nico Rosberg not to challenge Lewis Hamilton for third place in Malaysia.
The German was heard on the team radio arguing with Brawn that he was quicker than Hamilton, whilst Martin Brundle suggested during commentary of the race that the 2008 World Champion might not have left McLaren without some guarantee of preferential treatment.
However, Brawn told Sky Sports F1 that all Hamilton asked for during contract negotiations was parity with Rosberg.
"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," the Mercedes Team Principal said on The F1 Show.
"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."
The 58-year-old admitted he did not like calling off the fight at the Sepang International Circuit, but says both cars were running low on fuel - something that may have not been apparent to the fans at the time.
"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," he added.
"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.
"I didn't like having to give the orders I gave in Malaysia, it is not in my sporting nature and the team have demonstrated many times in the fast that we are very happy to let our drivers race each other - over the past few years we have often done that."
Brawn also hinted that members of the Mercedes management team were not happy about the decision he took during the race, but insists he has permission to make the strategy calls from the pitwall.
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"I had to make a decision from the pitwall about what we were going to do," he said.
"Now Niki (Lauda) or Toto (Wolff) might not agree with it, but I had all the information, I had all the facts. I had what I feel was all the information to make that decision and they didn't and I think they both recognised after the event that it was the correct decision.
"I am clear to make the decisions that I need to make and I am quite happy to justify them and I will put my hands up if I have made the wrong decision. But somebody has to make those decisions - you can't have those decisions made by a group or a committee, there is no time. I won't get it right all the time - if I can get it right 70% or 80% of the time then I am doing well."