Formula 1 - Brawn says team orders a no-brainer

Ross Brawn believes that instructing his drivers to hold position in the closing stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix was a no-brainer because both Mercedes cars were marginal on fuel.

Although Nico Rosberg was frustrated at being ordered to hold position behind Lewis Hamilton at the end, Brawn says that calling off the race was totally the right thing for the Brackley-based outfit to do.

He has revealed that team data shows that although Rosberg felt he had the pace to threaten the Red Bulls if he had been allowed to overtake Hamilton, his fuel situation meant he had no realistic chance of doing so.

"In my judgement, the lowest risk solution was for the drivers to hold station," Brawn told AUTOSPORT

"Nico may have got past Lewis, but on the fuel management programme that both drivers were running, there was no opportunity to progress further or challenge the front two cars.

"A third and fourth place finish was an excellent result for the team and I was not prepared to risk it.

"When I spoke to the team afterwards, I used the analogy of a man in the desert who had found a cup of water - and we wanted to make sure that we didn't spill a single drop."

RISKY FUEL STRATEGY

Brawn said that both Hamilton and Rosberg had been on the edge with fuel throughout the race because the team had been bold with its strategy.

"Both drivers were fuelled aggressively for the race as part of our calculations to achieve the overall shortest race time," he said.

"It's always a balancing act between the time lost in the early stages by carrying more fuel weight and the driving style compromises that have to be made to reach the finish.

"As each driver's race evolves, we have to react accordingly.

"Whilst the profile of Lewis and Nico's races were slightly different, both drivers had to make similar adjustments to reach our fuel targets.

"Fuel consumption targets are reviewed after each race and we will certainly look at this race closely to take any lessons for the future."

Hamilton said after the race that he had queried with Brawn as to whether he had done the right thing in not letting Rosberg through to see what he could do.

Brawn responded by making it clear that all he asked of his drivers was that they obeyed any instructions coming from the pit wall.

"That conversation happened after the race during our engineering briefing, when I said to both drivers that I expect them to respect the decisions made on the pit wall and to act in the best interests of the team," he said.

"They did exactly that on Sunday afternoon and I am very pleased with the mature and considered approach shown by both Nico and Lewis."