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Mercedes feared Rosberg might not finish

Tuesday 22-April-2014 09:00

Mercedes feared that Nico Rosberg wouldn't be able to finish last week's Chinese Grand Prix after the German was involved in a first corner incident with the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.

Starting from fourth on the grid, Rosberg made contact with the Finn's car at Turn 1, an incident that Mercedes feared could end the Drivers' Championship leader's race.

"We were lucky with the contact - that could have taken out Nico's car," Mercedes Executive Director (technical) Paddy Lowe told Autosport.

"It looked a bit tough at one point to get back to the one-two finish, but we did it bit by bit, thanks to a combination of a driver doing great laps when he needed to and good strategy from our side."

Lowe, though, doesn't believe the German's slow start was as a result the telemetry failure on his car.

"It wasn't a great start but it wasn't related to the loss of telemetry," Lowe continued during his Autosport interview.

"We were just managing through other systems, like the radio.

"It's a bit awkward, but there were no issues with the car. I think it would have been a lot more difficult if there were."

Mercedes' non-executive chairman Niki Lauda doesn't agree with Lowe, however, saying that it must have contributed to the problem.

"The telemetry on Nico's car failed on the way to the grid, which is tough for him because you don't know where the clutch bite point is, and [that] his start was not perfect is understandable," the three-time World Champions said.

"He didn't have any telemetry coming back at all, so we had to ask him when he went past the start/finish line what reading he had on fuel, and he says 'don't break my balls with all those questions', but nevertheless it is something we need to look into."

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