Lewis Hamilton’s refusal to obey an instruction from Mercedes to let his team mate past earlier in the race raised questions over whether he has cost Nico Rosberg victory.
Rosbreg’s race had already been disrupted by the early appearance of the Safety Car.
“We opened up a healthy lead from the start in tricky conditions until the race was overturned by a Safety Car,” Lowe explained. “For reasons we don’t yet understand, the safety car split the pack and Nico got stuck behind it because he had been unable to pit before it was called out.”
Mercedes ran different strategies for Rosberg, who started from pole position, and Hamilton, whose raced began in the pit lane.
“We put Nico on a three-stop strategy and Lewis on a two-stop,” said Low. “This caused an interaction which we explained as best we could to each driver.”
At this point Hamilton, on medium tyres and not due to stop again, rebuffed a request to let Rosberg past, as his team mate was on softs and had another stop to make.
“In the event, neither strategy was capable of recovering the win given the impact of the safety car periods,” said Lowe.
Hamilton said he didn’t let Rosberg past because, although they were on different strategies, “I was in the same race as him”. He added he was “shocked” to get the instruction.
“Just because he had one more stop than me doesn’t mean I wasn’t in the same race as him. And naturally if I’d have let him past, he would have had the opportunity to pull away and when he does pit, he’s going to come back and overtake me, so I was very, very shocked that the team would ask me to do that, to be able to better his position.
“But to be honest, he didn’t get close enough to overtake but I was never going to lift off and lost ground to Fernando [Alonso] or Daniel [Ricciardo] to enable him to have a better race. So that was a bit strange.”
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