|© AP Photo/Andy Wong
Nico Rosberg was ordered by Mercedes to hold position behind teammate Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, denying the former what would have been his rightful place on the podium.
Hamilton finished third – his 50th podium in Formula 1 – closely pursued by Rosberg, who during the final stint had radioed the team, "I can go so much faster. Let me past!"
"Negative, Nico,” came the reply from team principal Ross Brawn.
"Lewis' pace is what we're asking to do. He can go a lot faster as well,” the Briton explained over the radio a bit later.
"So let's go get the Red Bulls!" Rosberg suggested.
"Understood but hold position," Brawn asserted.
Hamilton, who was asked to save fuel, put on a grim face on the podium admitting that he was uncomfortable with the result.
"(Rosberg) drove a smarter and more controlled race than me this afternoon and deserved to finish where I did," said Hamilton adding that the two drivers respected the team's decision. "We were fighting hard with Red Bull and went aggressive on our fuel strategy but they were just too good today."
After the race had ended Rosberg told the team, “Remember this one”
In a statement though, Rosberg said that he understood the team’s decision to safeguard positions for "a strong team finish, especially in light of the tough times behind us.”
Mercedes scored 27 points at the Malaysian GP, the most on a single weekend since the German manufacturer returned to F1 in 2010
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff pointed out that "tough decisions have to be made sometimes" while Brawn fully expected Rosberg to be disappointed.