It was an encouraging day for Mercedes today for the Malaysian Grand Prix, with the team managing to get both cars to the checkered flag for the first time this season.
After Nico Rosberg was forced to retire from the Australian Grand Prix seven days ago, Lewis Hamilton led Rosberg home to record a third and fourth place finish for the German team. Despite it being Hamilton’s first podium for his new team in only the second race, the 2008 champion was not entirely happy with his day’s work as he was forced to save fuel in the late stages.
“That was a fantastic job by the team today. They worked so hard over the winter and to achieve a podium at the second race of the season is a nice reward, particularly here in Malaysia at one of our home races. I have to say big congratulations to Nico. He drove a smarter and more controlled race than me this afternoon and deserved to finish where I did,” a magnanimous Hamilton said.
“The team made the call for us to hold positions and we both respected that. The race was tough, we were fighting hard with Red Bull and went aggressive on our fuel strategy but they were just too good today. Third and fourth places is still a great result for us however and just increases our motivation to keep pushing and close that gap.”
“It was a great day for us as a team and we can be very happy of our performance here this weekend. It was a good feeling to be competitive and to be able to set fastest lap times during the race. Thanks to all of you at the team for all the hard work, results like these are very well deserved,” Rosberg added.
“Of course, it was disappointing for me having to hold position but 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. There are a lot of races to go and our performance today makes me look forward to fighting for more podium finishes in the future.”
Team boss Ross Brawn was heard to telling Rosberg to maintain position during the late stages of the race, but was still happy with his team’s performance this weekend.
“This weekend was another step in the right direction for the team. We had a pretty good car today, certainly on the option tyres it was very good, and the team made the right calls on strategy. On the third set of dry tyres, the hard compound, we didn’t quite have the balance and that’s where we fell back. We had a heavier than expected fuel consumption during the race and as we got towards the end, we had to take some measures to ensure that both cars finished.”
“We asked Lewis and Nico to hold position and both drivers respected that. Whilst it was tough for Nico and I fully expect him to be disappointed, we have now got a car we can fight with and that there will be plenty more opportunities to achieve good results this season. We’ve got to concentrate on keeping up the pace of development but we can take pride in achieving our first podium of the season and my thanks to everyone here and back at base for their commitment and hard work,” he concluded.