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Mercedes duo free to race

NEWS STORY
15/03/2014

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are free to race one another in Australia and beyond.

With an eye on previous in-house relationships that have turned sour - most recently Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber - and with a nod to a British media already stirring the pot, Mercedes is drawing back from issuing team orders or even agreeing to an informal code between its drivers.

"We are not doing this," Toto Wolff told reporters following today's qualifying session in Melbourne, the circuit which saw McLaren widely criticised when its drivers David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen were found to have made a pre-race agreement ahead of the 1998 event.

"I think it is very difficult to establish parameters, like whoever has the first corner stays in front," he continued. "We had a long discussion with Paddy (Lowe) and the boys and it was a very good discussion. Everyone gave his opinion about how we should proceed, and we defined that our main competitors are the other teams.

"We need to make sure that as a team we are running strongly. Then it is to be decided case-by-case with what is going on with the cars. It could go one race in one direction and the other race in another direction. We have discussed it and found a solution which is acceptable to Nico and Lewis and to the team."

"I can already tell you now that there will be battles between Lewis and I," said Rosberg, who has been close friends with his teammate since they raced in karts, "that is important for the TV and for everybody, for us as a team.

"Of course you cannot go crazy as team mates because at the same time we are both racing for Mercedes, we are both here to have great success for Mercedes and help bring Mercedes to the front," he admitted. "We need to find the fine line. We have done so in preparing for it and really going through it in detail so we know what to expect."

Check out our Qualifying gallery, here.

Chris Balfe

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