Fuel concerns halted Mercedes charge


Mat Coch writes:

While Red Bull looks to be on the verge of civil war, Mercedes appears to have calmed what were troubled waters during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Running third and fourth in the closing stages, and short on fuel, both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were told to hold station and save every drop of fuel they could. In Hamilton's case this meant lifting off the throttle and coasting into corners up to one hundred meters before the usual braking point, much to Rosberg's frustration.

It was a result of aggressively chasing the two Red Bulls earlier in the race, while filling the cars with less fuel in anticipation of a more weather affected race.

"I used too much fuel," Hamilton admitted after the race. "I was being asked to save fuel from very early on.

"Perhaps we were particularly aggressive on our fuel strategy which is a little bit unfortunate. I don't know what the situation was with Nico but for me, it loses quite a lot of time when you have to basically lift and coast for a hundred metres."

Although lobbying Ross Brawn to be set free in pursuit of the in-fighting Red Bull's ahead Rosberg played the team game.

"It was disappointing for me having to hold position," he admitted. "I understand the team's decision to safeguard our positions and to make sure that both cars got to the end with a strong team finish, especially in light of the tough times behind us."

"Nico showed that he's a fantastic team player," said Toto Wolff. "Both of them had a bit of a fuel issue and we were not sure if we could run until the end.

"Both of them were advised that they had the issue," he added.

Faster in the closing stages there was the temptation to release Rosberg, however the team decided it was too great a risk with potentially little reward.

"It's far more complex than just saying yes, we could have chased them," Wolff explained. "It could all end up in tears at the end and then you're a real idiot. So let's be happy to bring third and fourth back home."

Mercedes is fourth in the Constructors' Championship with thirty-seven points, three points behind Lotus and Ferrari who are tied for second and twenty-nine behind leaders Red Bull.

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Published: 24/03/2013
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