Nico Rosberg insists Mercedes are right to keep both drivers on the same strategy in races because it ensures he and Lewis Hamilton can fight head to head and on a completely equal footing.
The Silver Arrows’ strategy calls became a talking point in Brazil on Sunday when Hamilton asked for tactical freedom during the race in a bid to overhaul Rosberg in a fight for the lead – a request the team ultimately denied.
Rosberg says that was the right call to make at Interlagos as it guaranteed a fair fight – one in which ‘the better guy won’.
“Our internal battle needs to be man against man, especially when there are no other competitors,” Rosberg explained when asked if the team should open up strategy decisions.
“It needs to be us two, and removing the luck aspect. That’s how it was [in Brazil], and the better guy won.
“There is too much luck that comes into it [with drivers able to make strategy calls]. For example [in Brazil] we thought a two-stop was the way to go, and actually a three-stop was quicker. So if I had gone for two stops and Lewis had gone for three, even though I am quicker he will win the race. That’s not fair.”
Rosberg said Hamilton’s request was particularly futile in Brazil because there wasn’t a viable alternative plan – especially after the Briton had attacked in the middle stint.
“A two stop Lewis would never have managed – with the way he was pushing in the second stint he destroyed his tyres and then he dropped off,” Rosberg said. “You could see his tyres were finished.
“So two-stop was never an option, three-stop was what he forced us to do as a result, and four-stop was not an option. There was no alternative anyway.”
Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, insisted on Sunday that the team would not change their stance with regards to race strategy.
Wolff also admitted he could not fully explain the swing in momentum between Hamilton and Rosberg. The former dominated for most of the season, but has not been on pole since Monza six races ago – a stark contrast to Rosberg, who sealed a fifth straight pole and second straight win at the weekend.