Almost a year after the infamous decision of Sebastian Vettel to ignore the now equally synonymous ‘Multi-21′ radio call, Nico Rosberg is not expecting team orders at Mercedes.
Though it was Red Bull who will be most remembered for trying to play the team game at Sepang in 2013, Mercedes too had their own little quarrel between drivers.
In what was the first such incident between the Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, the German was told to hold station behind his then new team-mate despite being clearly the much faster car.
Even after the race, Hamilton admitted the wrong Mercedes was on the podium however the call came as the team looked to consolidate what was a cast iron third and fourth behind the squabbling Red Bull’s.
Fast forward a year and now it is Mercedes who could find themselves as their own real competition for first and second at the Malaysian track, however, despite fighting for positions a little greater than those team orders were used for last year, Rosberg admits he expects no such call.
“This year, we are here to race. That is the clear message and you will see it on the track,” the German told Le Figaro.
He added: “At the same time, we know there will be times when there could be team orders. It’s inevitable.
“But we’ve discussed it and we know where we stand,” he insisted.
His team’s Chairman, former triple world champion Niki Lauda too expressed his desire for there to be no interference from the pit-wall with the two men free to slug it out on a track known for exciting action and overtaking.
Based on practice, the times, at least over the shorter runs, indicate that it will be a case of Hamilton vs Rosberg, however, over longer runs the field does appear to be much closer with the old nemesis of tyre wear seeming to put the Silver cars at a slight disadvantage compared to their rivals.
Speaking to German broadcaster Sport1, Rosberg admitted Mercedes may have more than themselves to worry about on Sunday.
“Melbourne has never been a good guide. It (the pecking order) is always a bit messed up there,” he said believing the dominance seen in Australia will likely not repeated.
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