Whilst Hamilton was able to cruise to the checkered flag, Rosberg’s issue came on two laps earlier, meaning he had to manage the situation whilst the Ferrari came bearing down on him at a second per lap.
Rosberg was unable to hold off Raikkonen when he ran wide at Turn 1 as a result of his brake-by-wire failure, costing him second place.
Mercedes said the issue was a known one from the very first lap, but due to the amount of hard braking the German was forced to do as he overtook cars, meant it failed sooner than Hamilton’s.
“We saw it in Nico’s system all race from lap one but it finally went wrong on the third last lap, so that’s why he went long because the brake-by-wire system converted from active to passive where it’s no longer a powered system,” technical boss Paddy Lowe said.
Meanwhile Toto Wolff explained that it was the result of a compromise due to changes made to the cars in order to get better tyre wear in the hope off keeping Ferrari behind them.
“It is set-up issues and we knew the changes we made on the car were compromising a little bit the brake temperatures,” he added. “We knew what we were doing. It was a hard race with lots of overtaking, especially in Nico’s side, and then both cars struggled to make it through the backmarkers at the end of the race. The minute you follow another car or a couple of cars, the airstream collapses and this is why it made the brakes go.”
“It is never one single solution, so you try to tackle the problem that we had on the Friday and the Saturday afternoon with a couple of adjustments. One of them was linked to the capability of brake wear, so in hindsight and knowing that this caused a problem and nearly cost us the race and P2 we will probably look at things again and do things differently in the future.”