Split in Mercedes management over team orders

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Although much of the focus surrounded Red Bull’s team orders following the Malaysian Grand Prix, the internal relationships at Mercedes have also been tested following a contentious race last Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were in third and fourth place respectively, but the British driver was forced to save fuel, and was therefore holding his teammate up. Despite Rosberg asking to be let past, team principal Ross Brawn refused to let the drivers change position, which has received differing opinions from the team’s management.

Niki Lauda has criticized the decision, believing that the quicker driver should have been allowed to finish in P3.

“From a sporting perspective, that was wrong. They should have let [Nico Rosberg] go. We need to talk to Ross, if this is the strategy to be used from now on,” Lauda told The Times of London.

On the other side of the fence in Toto Wolff, who believes that there is no issue to be addressed.

“There was no controversy,” Wolff said. “Both had a bit of fuel issue and we were not sure if we could run them until the end and both of them were advised they had the issue.

“Nico showed that he is a fantastic team player and he held onto the position and we would have done it in the opposite way as well.”

Rosberg did not make his distaste public, but he did tell Brawn over the radio “I’ll remember this,” implying that should the inverse of the situation arise in the future, he would expect similar treatment.

Hartley’s F1 grid penalty streak continues in Abu Dhabi

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Brendon Hartley’s record of receiving a grid penalty at every Formula 1 race he has started is set to continue in Abu Dhabi this weekend after Toro Rosso was forced to change part of his Renault power unit following the last race in Brazil.

Since making his F1 debut at the United States Grand Prix last month, Hartley has faced a grid drop at all three races he has started so far amid ongoing reliability difficulties for power unit supplier Renault.

After being forced to retire from the last race in Brazil two weeks ago due to an engine issue, Hartley has received a 10-place grid penalty for Abu Dhabi after it was confirmed Toro Rosso had changed the MGU-H on his power unit.

Hartley is yet to score any points in F1, having retired from two of his three races so far to make his debut run to P13 in Austin his best result to date.

The Toro Rosso driver finished 20th in FP1 and 19th in FP2 during Friday’s practice sessions in Abu Dhabi as he continued to get to grips with the Yas Marina Circuit.