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Sir Jackie Stewart may feel that Lewis Hamilton is the clear number one driver at Mercedes AMG Petronas but that’s not how team boss Ross brawn sees it:

“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,” Brawn 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.”

Sure, Malaysia’s team order to hold station were obediently followed by Nico Rosberg allowing Hamilton to claim the 3rd step on the podium but that is just smart racing according to Brawn:

“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 said.

“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.”

Of course he must be referring to a ‘sporting nature’ that has changed since the Ferrari days when every race was orchestrated with team orders and arranged outcomes usually on the losing end for Rubens Barrichello but that’s how the sport is played, it is a team sport and drivers know that all too well.

Let’s not be silly here, Mercedes went after lewis Hamilton and it’s most evidently clear their main push will be behind the British champion but that’s not to say that Rosberg is chopped liver. He’s a tidy driver who was clearly faster than Lewis in Malaysia. The reality is, the position is most likely Hamilton’s but if rosberg doesn’t like it, he’ll have to do to Hamilton what Lewis did to Fernando Alonso when they were teammates. he’ll have to do to hamilton what Senna did to his boss, Nikki Lauda.

In short, he’ll have to de-thrown the king and claim the number one status. Can he do it?

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • dom

    i think the way brawn is handling this and whats been happening with these two drivers so far this season is pretty exciting and ultimately good for the team. they’re both extremely competitive and will therefore push eachother but they also seem to have a healthy respect for one another and the interests of the team. several races into the season, if Lewis has a shot at the WDC, which he realistically prob wont, then we’ll prob see the team rallying behind him somewhat more but for the time being wanting to beat Nico and vice versa will only help the team in its quest for more points. I say Lewis, because if either are going to assume ‘leadership’ it will, i feel, be him. he just seems to have more… drive.

  • It did seem very forced, Nico was past several times so the argument of ‘safer to stay put’ is clearly rubbish.

    Given that Petronas’s key race is Malaysia where they have the most advertising it looks a lot like they’d ‘selected’ hamilton as their ‘shiny new toy’ to place on the podium.

    Perhaps in Germany it’ll be Rosbergs turn!