Nico Rosberg said he completely understood Mercedes’ team decision for him to hold position behind newly recruit team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Following the first half of the race Lewis Hamilton had to save fuel and Mercedes ordered fourth place runner Rosberg hold place. After the race Hamilton admits that Rosberg was faster than him and the German should have been on the podium instead.
At the end of the race Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn thanked him for the drive and Rosberg replied “remember this one”.
“It’s nice to hear if he said that,” Rosberg said. “That’s the way it is really, fair play from me today! As a team effort I respected the team’s opinion. It’s an important day for us, we’ve had such a tough time over the past years – even Melbourne – and so to be third and fourth fighting the Red Bulls is such a milestone and we need to put in some consistency.
“To bring it home third and fourth was fully understandable and I know that if it had been the other way round they would have done the same thing. So that’s OK and for sure there will be times to fight between team-mates in the future.”
Rosberg did admit, however, that while he may understand the decision from the team it doesn’t mean he’s happy about it.
“Just mixed [emotions]. From the one side I’m very happy because the car’s going well and it’s a great feeling out there to be right fighting with the leaders, the Red Bulls, that’s really awesome and that’s a big change from yesterday. So a big thanks for that to everybody; they’ve done an amazing job over the winter to make such a big step forward. It’s really spectacular.
“Personally I’m a bit disappointed for me because I’d have liked to push until the end. I was feeling really good out there.
Following his radio message, when asked if he feels as if Mercedes owes him one now, Rosberg replied: “Not owe me one, no, I wouldn’t say that because I understand.
“I drive for Mercedes … so 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 be up on the podium myself, but the time will come for that.”
Images © Mercedes