Brawn defends use of team orders in Malaysia

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Ross Brawn has defended his use of team orders at the Malaysian Grand Prix, preventing Nico Rosberg from passing Lewis Hamilton in the final stages of the race.

Hamilton was forced to save fuel, but Brawn told the faster Rosberg to hold position behind the British driver to not put the team result at risk. Both drivers were disappointed with the result, and Hamilton admitted that he did not deserve the podium finish. However, Brawn still believes that he made the right decision.

“I don’t like having to take those decisions, but from a technical perspective we would have looked very foolish if we had run both cars out of fuel,” he told Sky Sports.

“I think what wasn’t fully appreciated at the time is that we had a situation develop on both cars with fuel. We weren’t comfortable with either car and I could see a scenario with both drivers competing against each other, in a strong way, it is difficult to marry managing the fuel with a full blown fight with your team-mate.”

Brawn did come under fire from Mercedes managers Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff, but the team principal is happy to have made the call.

“I had all the information, I had all the facts. I had what I feel was all the information to make that decision and they didn’t and I think they both recognized after the event that it was the correct decision.”

There is a great deal of movement behind the scenes at Mercedes, with Paddy Lowe set to join the team for next season. Brawn has previously said that he would not remain at the team if Lowe joined, and this latest debacle could only increase the pressure on the former team owner.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”