With reverberations surrounding team orders still emanating from a controversial Malaysian Grand Prix
three weeks ago, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg
was clearly bristling when the subject was raised again on Friday ahead of the 2013 Chinese GP at Shangahi International Circuit, where he is the defending race champion.
"I don't want to comment on that - and in fact it is history," the German racer said when asked yet another variation of question regarding how he'd been instructed by team principal Ross Brawn to hold station behind his team mate Lewis Hamilton
for the closing laps at Sepang.
"It is out of my head," Rosberg insisted. "What is in my head right now is that the car feels really good and that I want to attack, attack, attack on Sunday."
While Sebastian Vettel
has been in the spotlight for ignoring comparable team orders at Red Bull
in the same race, Rosberg earned plaudits and a certain amount of sympathy after he did as he was told and came home in fourth position while Lewis Hamilton
claimed the podium position just inches ahead.
"I respect my boss. It probably was a bit unfortunate that we hadn't discussed such a situation before the race, but that is solved now for the future," Rosberg explained. "Of course this is an ambivalent situation and as everybody can imagine it is absolutely not to my liking.
"We are one team and together we fight for the championship. If you have plans to win it you need the backing of your team, and that involves respecting orders, especially from your boss," he added, saying that the team had now discussed and put in place a strategy for any similar situations in the future so that everyone knew where they stood.
But Rosberg was not happy when asked if the team orders at Malaysia strongly suggested that Rosberg was now the team's number two driver behind Hamilton.
"Counter question: have you asked Sebastian Vettel
if he is the number two driver now after he was told not to overtake Mark Webber
in Malaysia?" he said with a steely edge to his voice. "Ah, you see!
"What I can say for Mercedes is that we don't have a number one or number two driver," he insisted. "That's how it was for all of the past three years where my team mate was seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher! Is this answer enough?"