Lewis Hamilton said he felt his team mate should have been on the podium instead of him after the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Hamilton finished third with Nico Rosberg close behind him. But Rosberg repeatedly lobbied his team to be allowed to pass Hamilton, who was backing off to save fuel.
Hamilton was quick to pay tribute to his team mate on the podium after the race: “If I’m honest I really feel like Nico should be standing here, generally he had better pace than me throughout the race. But he’s a great team mate and did a fantastic job today.”
“I can’t say it’s the best feeling being up here but racing is racing and I really just got to keep looking forward,” he added.
Rosberg said Hamiltons’ words were “nice to hear” and added he didn’t feel like the team owes him payback for his obedience:
“I understand I drive for Mercedes, for you guys at home who put your life into building this car over the winter and doing such a fantastic job. I’m pleased to be able to do such a great result for the team.
“But of course there’s a small side of me where I want to go flat out all the way to the end and we up on the podium myself. But the time will come for that.”
Team principal Ross Brawn repeatedly denied Rosberg’s requests during the race to be allowed to race Hamilton. He said the team were holding position after dropping back from leaders Red Bull:
“I think we obviously lost the race around the last pit stops,” said Brawn. “The prime tyre didn’t work so well for us in the third stint of dry tyres. Having lost it initially it was a question of bringing the cars back in the safest form.”
Brawn added they have cut it fine on fuel with both cars: “We were tight on fuel, the pace was a lot stronger in the race than we anticipated and we were tight on fuel and we needed to make sure we didn’t overdo it. Once the opportunity was gone there was nothing to be gained.”
He said Rosberg understood Hamilton would be expected to do the same under similar circumstances: “It works both ways, the drivers know that. We discuss these things before the race. Of course he’s very competitive and he’ll be a bit frustrated but it works both ways.”
2013 Malaysian Grand Prix
- Horner: Vettel and Webber have a “healthy rivalry”
- Webber wins Malaysian GP Driver of the Weekend
- Red Bull gives up on team orders as Vettel admits he would defy them again
- Malaysia retirement no concern for Alonso
- Massa: Red Bull’s team orders not “intelligent”
Image © Mercedes/Hoch Zwei