Hamilton: ‘Red Bull have a number one, we don’t’

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sepang, 2013Lewis Hamilton has hit back at Helmut Marko’s claim that Mercedes operate a system of distinct number one and number two drivers.

“We don’t have a one and two at Mercedes,” said Hamilton. “I have always said, from the moment I was speaking to the team, that I wanted equality.”

“They didn’t offer me to be favoured but I just wanted to make the point that I am not a driver that comes and requests that like a lot of other drivers do.”

Following the Malaysian Grand Prix Marko said the situation at Red Bull was “not like at Mercedes where it?s clear number one and number two, basically we treat the drivers the same”.

During the race Nico Rosberg was repeatedly told not to overtake Hamilton for third place. After the race Hamilton told his team on the radio it “definitely didn?t feel right for me”.

Hamilton added: “Red Bull have a clear one and two, they always have. And that is why they have always had the problems they have had.”

Red Bull said in a statement the fall-out from Sunday’s race is being handled internally:

“It?s worth noting that this is not an entirely new situation for us. At Infiniti Red Bull Racing, we have two drivers who both want to win races and championships and this has been the case since Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel started driving together in 2009.

“Together, the driver pairing of Mark and Sebastian has achieved 35 wins, 80 podiums, 13 one-two finishes and six FIA Formula One world championships. This successful period includes some spells of intense on-track rivalry between our drivers.

“Each incident has been managed in our own way behind closed doors and this will be no different.”

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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160 comments on Hamilton: ‘Red Bull have a number one, we don’t’

  1. kpcart said on 26th March 2013, 16:15

    after what manifested in the race, i am afraid Hamilton is wrong, Ross Brawn has made it clear who is number one at mercedes. I hope Rosberg for a fourth year wont take this laying down from this scumbag Brawn, he didnt take it laying down versus the favourite son Schumacher, so i am sure he can deal with hamilton favouratism. Brawn is the most overrated of all the team principles, he got lucky by being in the right place at the right time with ferrari, but since then, even with his team brawn (which was an exceptional Honda), his cars have a common habit of getting worse through out the year, in 2009 the honda brawn started the best, and was overtaken by redbull later. the mercedes under brawn in 2010, 2011 and 2012, they started well – then went backwards. 2013 wont change. ross brawn is overpaid and over opionionated, just read his comments about the team orders this past race, he is so wrong

  2. jochenrindt78 (@jochenrindt78) said on 26th March 2013, 16:16

    They do, his name is Rosberg…

  3. This all depends on how you define “number 1 driver”: if it is meaning as in one driver is favoured by team orders and strategists, then Red Bull clearly don’t have a number 1 driver – team orders were imposed against Vettel in Malaysia (albeit which he chose to ignore, not to the delight of his team though mind). This is rather unlike Ferrari for example, where Alonso is favoured.

    If we take number one as having one driver who is clearly better than the other though, then yes Red Bull do have a number one, as do probably Mercedes (Hamilton is widely acknowledged to be better than Rosberg). That is a subject that is as clear as mud though.

    • Well… Only Red Bull technically have a number 1 driver, as Sebastian Vettel is the only driver on the grid with a big “1” on the nose.

    • @Vettel1

      I tend to disagree with the majority opinion of Alonso being favored at Ferrari…
      Every time Alonso received preferential treatment from Ferrari, he was the only Ferrari driver in WDC contention.. be it Germany 2010, USA 2012 or Brazil 2012…

      I am sure Ferrari considers Alonso their best shot for WDC… because he has proven that he is a better driver than Massa… But I am also sure if there comes a time when Massa is a title contender and alonso is not , Massa will be the one receiving preferential treatment..

      2007 and 2008 are best examples of that.. . Kimi received preferential treatment when massa was out of the title race… And the roles were reversed in 2008…
      What Ferrari wants is one of their drivers to win WDC, like any other team… and I dont think they would care if it’s Massa or Alonso …

      In each of the last three years, Alonso put himself in the position to receive preferential treatment by being so far ahead of Massa ..

      On a side note I am expecting a closer fight between the two this year but still expect Alonso to have the upper hand..

      • @puneethvb – this is very true, although I tend to see it as Ferrari favour one driver at a much earlier stage than some other teams – they don’t wait until their “second” driver is out of contention mathematically, so I would say this leans towards a number one policy (or at least a less balanced one than Red Bulls, which I don’t believe is a number one by the first definition).

  4. It seems as obvious as can be that, whatever Hamilton thinks, Mercedes regard him as their No 1 driver. And I notice that Lewis was not so bothered by the team orders as to wave Rosberg past him.

  5. “Red Bull have a clear one and two, they always have. And that is why they have always had the problems they have had.”

    That sentence makes no sense whatsoever. Ferrari have a clear one and two, and they always have. So have they always had problems with it?

  6. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 26th March 2013, 17:37

    This is all after two races…Guys – I think we’re in for a classic!

  7. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 26th March 2013, 18:18

    …(amusingly snorts)…

  8. bemob said on 26th March 2013, 19:42

    It’s entirely possible that there could have been a title sponsor bonus for HAM on podium (marketability).

  9. dragoll (@dragoll) said on 26th March 2013, 20:04

    I don’t understand why HAM weighed into this debate, RBR have so much pressure on them at the moment and now he goes and shines the spotlight on Mercedes.

    I understand that a reporter would have asked HAM for his opinion, but there is no rule stating that you are obliged to answer.

  10. Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 26th March 2013, 23:53

    Classic Flavio!


    He may have a point though.

  11. fangio85 (@fangio85) said on 27th March 2013, 3:48

    Saying red bull don’t have a number one is ridiculous, they have tried fairly hard to appear to not favour vettel, why else would they randomly order vettel to stay behind webber so early? They knew it would have little effect on the championship, being round two, and it would make mark perhaps feel a bit more equal, so win win. Ferrari are different, since massas form goes from pretty decent to absolutely horrible, and Alonso is the prost of the current crop, in that he is usually incredibly consistent, and much more skilled than Massa. That is why ferrari favour alonso, because they purposely, and famously, always pair a top driver with a mid field driver, so as to avoid the mclaren syndrome of losing titles and good drivers by pairing the two best drivers together. It makes sense in my mind to employ ferraris strategy, when it works, its gold, just look at schuey and barrichello. But you need a really top car for it to work, we have seen how it can work against them, as in when there is a big gap to other top teams, their number one driver uses his superior skill to salvage decent results, while the number two struggles to bring home some points. Imo there isnt such a big gap in skill between webber and vettel, and the team suffers because webber obviously feels he’s good enough if he’s given the same opportunity as vettel. Obviously, this hasn’t gotten in the way too much, so I don’t think they would care a whole lot. Mercedes is different though. Rosberg has proven in the little time he’s had to do so, that if he isn’t as good as Hamilton, the difference in skill is tiny. They will suffer much worse than red bull if they continue to favour one driver over the other. Red bull manage it by making things fairly equal early in the season, knowing seb is more consistent so he will soon enough be ahead of mark and they can start favouring him without causing too much damage. Ferrari, having a much bigger gap between their drivers skill, can afford to do this much earlier, not to mention Massa is such a good sport they know it won’t cause a rift. Mercedes drivers are closer than red bull, and way closer than ferrari, so I think this is a dangerous game they’re playing, which could very easily result in Rosberg leaving.

  12. azazino said on 27th March 2013, 5:20

    Mr. Lewis seems to forget all the number 1 treatment he got with Alonso and Heikki.

  13. manu said on 27th March 2013, 8:41

    The worst thing about RedBull is that they try to point fingers at other teams saying that those other teams have number 1 drivers. They criticized Ferrari for it a few years back, now they are doing the same for Merc. Its yet to be seen if Merc has a number 1 driver and its unfair to think so only after two races. It seems both have been given the same car and no one has been deprived of any new parts yet. However, their actions on Sunday might paint a different picture. Still I will give them the benefit of doubt and give them a few more races.

    Ferrari is criticized a lot but at least they don’t lie about it. They don’t come out and say Alonso is not their number 1 driver. As for RedBull its pretty clear I think to everyone but themselves, so why keep lying. Just come out and flat out say that Vettel is their number 1, because he has a better chance of winning at the end of the year. They instead want to appear loved to the public so they lie. But now I think no one is fooled.

  14. vjanik said on 27th March 2013, 11:02

    If Lewis felt so bad than why didnt he let Rosberg through?

    The reason why Mercedes told Rosberg to stay put was because they were afraid of them fighting for position and crashing into each other. If indeed Hamilton felt that Rosberg should have been on the podium, why not just take the decision upon himself and let him through? Or from the teams point of view, if they were afraid of a battle and a potential DNF, than why not tell Hamilton to let Rosberg through without a fight because he has a better chance of pressuring the Redbulls?

    I am not saying this should have happened. I am just pointing out that there is a choice here and both Hamilton and Mercedes made the choice. There is no point feeling sorry afterwards.

  15. PaulF1 (@paulf1) said on 27th March 2013, 14:27

    interesting how the competitors try to shake Red Bull drivers confidence with digs, inuendos and general attacks. They should save their energy for the race.

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