Mercedes has revealed that it nearly suffered a retirement of its own during the race in Melbourne, with race winner Nico Rosberg’s car being described as “marginal” after the flag.
Rosberg led team-mate Lewis Hamilton home for a Mercedes one-two after a tight strategic battle with Ferrari, but team head Toto Wolff said the German was close to retiring with braking issues mid-race.
“It was an unconventional race in that we suffered some little dramas,” said Wolff. “We had a problem on Nico’s car with brake caliper temperatures, which kept creeping up almost to a stage where we thought about retiring the car. That was two thirds into the race. We caught some debris in the caliper, but then it stabilised and started to creep down again.
“It was difficult for the team to handle and then 15 laps from the end our calculations showed the tyres wouldn’t last, that five laps from the end the left-rear could fall off the cliff. The temperatures kept dropping every lap and our tyre guy said ‘Five laps from the end, that’s it’. We lost a lot of grip on the rear-left, but it’s just one of four tyres and Nico made it survive.”