Wolff leaves it to drivers to fight it out up to a point

Nico Rosberg in pensive during practice at the Chinese Grand Prix NNL-150414-122542002
Nico Rosberg in pensive during practice at the Chinese Grand Prix NNL-150414-122542002

Mercedes AMG Petronas boss Toto Wolff says it’s up to the drivers to manage the situation on the race track as long as it doesn’t compromise the team’s chances of winning.

Normal service was resumed in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton leading a Mercedes AMG Petronas one-two.

Having qualified on pole position, the world champion raced to a comfortable victory for the Brackley team with Nico Rosberg coming second.

But Rosberg felt his team-mate held him up in the closing stages of the race. The German driver claimed Hamilton was driving unnecessarily slowly, backing him up into the chasing Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

But Wolff said: “Our main objective is to be number one, that is what we decided.

“If it ever comes to a point of interfering between the two of them because we risk to lose a race win we would do that. We do not have the gap any more from last year where we can just let them push each other until the very end.

“We need to manage the gaps between the two of them. It could have come to a point on Sunday where we could have been very firm on the radio saying this is what needs to be done in order not to risk the race result.

“You can’t stop drivers getting worked up. If we require our two drivers to conduct themselves in a ‘super-corporate’ manner and to say nothing, then we would be criticised for that, and rightly so.

“What pleases me is that as a team we have bounced back. We’ve solved the problem of making the tyre last longer, we tackled the problem from different angles - aerodynamic, mechanical and the behaviour of the power unit.”