Lewis Hamilton has lamented Mercedes' policy to keep its two drivers on identical race strategies as he followed Nico Rosberg home for another 1-2 in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The German led from pole, despite a concerted effort from Hamilton to pass into turn one, and, from that point on, the world champion had to play second fiddle at a race he has yet to win in nine attempts. Although he closed the gap mid-race, he was unable to pass Rosberg and then fell away as his tyres went off.
It was a similar story in the second half, with Rosberg able to control the pace while Hamilton toiled in his wake, with calls to be allowed to change his gameplan falling on deaf ears as the Mercedes pit-wall encouraged him to make his rubber last longer. In the end, the pair we split by 7.7secs, with Rosberg securing second in the overall standings as a result of his second win in as many races.
“I had good pace but you can't overtake here,” Hamilton sighed, “I was behind Nico and in traffic for some time, but I just killed my tyres. It's a shame because it's such a great track but you just can't get close enough to race. I don't know if there are other people overtaking but, unless you've got a huge advantage over the guy in front…
“Motorsport is about fine lines, about tenths of a second, but you can't close enough within a tenth of a second to fight… it's a shame because it would be good if we could have some overtaking here.”
Asked how frustrating it was not to be able to call his own race, Hamilton stopped short of criticising what has been Mercedes' regimen all season long, but it was clear that he would have tried anything to be able to break his Interlagos duck.
“I'm here to race and, when you're both have to do pretty much the same order, it's like it's kind of already set from the beginning,” he commented, “For sure, if there's any other strategies, let's do it, let's take a risk, let's do whatever…. They're like 'look after the tyres' and I'm like 'no, I'm racing!'. I think that's what people want to see but, today, I couldn't get close enough to really put on a great race and it was relatively boring following in the tow.
“We rely on the team, [but] I was looking for whatever other opportunities there may be because, on the track, it wasn't looking great. There was a point where I was all over him and I couldn't get close enough to get past. It would be great to be able to do something differently and have some options. Do this, do that, see how it plays out…. but they do so many strategic simulations that they pick the best two and that is what we are stuck with.
Despite the disappointment, Hamilton was magnanimous to pay tribute to his team-mate's recent form, which has seen him reel off five straight pole positions in addition to winning in Mexico and Brazil.
“Nico's been driving fantastically well – he did a fantastic job in qualifying, especially in the last few races,” he noted, “At the last race he drove fantastically well and, today, there were no mistakes, so he was good.”