Mercedes issue open letter in response to favouritism claims
Mercedes have an issued an open letter to fans in response to suggestions of favouritism towards Nico Rosberg, insisting the team remains united.
While Rosberg has won four straight races to start the 2016 season - taking his streak of consecutive victories to seven dating back to last term - team-mate and defending world champion Lewis Hamilton has seen his car beset by mechanical issues.
Electrical problems forced him to start from 10th at the Russian Grand Prix, with the Briton eventually finishing second behind Rosberg.
In the letter, Mercedes revealed Hamilton limped to the finish despite his car having zero water pressure and stressed their desire to end the problems that have blighted his campaign so far.
It read: "What happened in Sochi showed the world just what a team working in unison is capable of. We were baffled and gutted by the repeat MGU-H failure on Lewis' car in qualifying. But we kept calm, gathered our thoughts and sprung into action.
"It took a monumental effort from a significant number of people back in the UK and in Russia to fly spare parts out to the track, fit them to the spare power unit by working through the night and make sure Lewis could start from P10 on Sunday without having broken parc ferme.
"This made Sunday all the more stressful for each of us. But, in the end, we were relieved just to get both cars to the flag."
On Hamilton's water-pressure issue, which arose shortly after a problem with Rosberg's power unit, Mercedes wrote: "At the time, he was pushing hard to catch Nico and pull away from Kimi [Raikkonen] - posting several purple lap times in the process. Again, we needed to await confirmation from the FIA of what we could tell him via the radio.
"After several calls asking him to take it easy, the all-clear came to let him know that he was losing water pressure. With zero - yes, zero! - water pressure remaining for the last 16 laps, the job he did to nurse the car home and still retain second place was truly remarkable.
"Our goal is not simply to be fast but bulletproof too. Not just to manage problems but to understand them, fix them and ensure they are not repeated. We are working tirelessly to do just that and will continue to do so every step of the way.
"There will be highs and lows, good day and bad days, successes and defeats. But, through all of this, we stand united as a team - just as we always have."