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Team-orders fallout hangs over Bulls

(China Daily)

09:04, April 12, 2013

Memories of China would have given Nico Rosberg plenty of extra motivation on his return to Shanghai this weekend, even without a "team orders" furore that blew up at the last race in Malaysia.

While Red Bull caught the full force of the storm at Sepang, with triple world champion Sebastian Vettel winning after ignoring instructions from his pitwall to stay behind teammate Mark Webber, Mercedes was buffeted by its own drama.

"Remember this one," Rosberg told Mercedes principal Ross Brawn over the radio after obeying the boss's orders and finishing fourth behind teammate Lewis Hamilton despite believing he was faster.

Brawn, who said he imposed the orders to prevent his cars running out of fuel, would rather think back a bit further to last year's race in China when Rosberg secured Mercedes's first win as a works team since 1955.

The German, son of Finland's 1982 champion Keke, has a special relationship with the monumental Shanghai circuit and Sunday's race could bring an immediate payback.

He has led the past three races in China and his success, in a car that was off the pace for much of the rest of the season, marked a big breakthrough as his first Grand Prix victory.

Brawn saw no reason why the run could not continue, particularly with a car that has looked much more competitive.

"It was a very special day," the burly Briton said of 2012. "We always seem to go quite well in China and, in particular, Nico is very strong there.

"It seems to be a track that suits him. it's a track which is front-tire limited (where the front tires are under greater stress) because of the nature of the corners, not rear-tire limited possibly over the last few years we've been a bit weak in terms of rear-tire durability.

"I think that's better now. There's no reason why we shouldn't be in that leading group, we've got some steps we want to do with the car and the car seems to be behaving pretty well and (we've got) two great drivers," said Brawn.

Hamilton's third place in Malaysia was the 2008 world champion's first podium since he left McLaren at the end of last season and the Briton also has a strong record in China.

The only driver to have won twice in Shanghai, his 2011 success means Mercedes now has the past two Chinese GP winners in its cars.

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