Mercedes have hit back at claims they have favoured Nico Rosberg over team-mate Lewis Hamilton this season with a bizarre open letter rebuking “haters, naysayers and conspirators”.
Rosberg has won all four races so far this season while Britain’s Hamilton has seen the defence of his title undermined by a series of mechanical failures – the latest in Russia on Sunday.
Mercedes said they were “baffled and gutted” by the problems that have restricted Hamilton to 57 points – 43 fewer than Rosberg – and rejected suggestions that the German has a better team of engineers working on his car. “There is no ‘A’ or ‘B’ team here,” they added.
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Hamilton made pointed reference to a garage reshuffle after battling to second place in Russia, saying that many of the mechanics who worked with him as he won a third title last year were now in Rosberg’s crew.
“The team all of a sudden swapped for no apparent reason,” the Stevenage racer said, though he said it would be “jumping the gun” to blame it on institutional bias. “That hasn’t happened in the last three years and I don’t believe there is any reason for that to happen now.”
Rosberg has now won seven grands prix in a row, including three at the end of last year as Hamilton eased off after completing a successful title defence. The next race is the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on 15 May.