DC to Mercedes: let drivers off the leash in Abu Dhabi

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Former grand prix star David Coulthard wants to see Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg engage in a “gloves-off race” in Abu Dhabi with Mercedes allowing its drivers to pick their own strategies.

The last two grands prix in Mexico and Brazil saw the triple world champion ask to be put on a different strategy during the race in order to find a way past his team-mate, but to no avail.

Mercedes’ equality policy means Hamilton and Rosberg can indeed battle it out but only within a specific frame, as priority is given to the car in front and strategy changes only allowed to salvage the team's best interests.

The Briton called for more freedom in that realm after the Interlagos event, something Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff is not inclined to grant. With both titles already wrapped up and Rosberg’s runner-up spot now secured, Coulthard thinks the double world champions can afford to run the risk.

“Just for one race, Mercedes could try a different approach to increase the entertainment value of a season finale which otherwise could lack a bit of interest if we're honest,” he wrote in his latest BBC Sport column.

“The drivers and their respective engineers could conduct strategy for themselves. Normal rules apply - they can't crash into each other - but Hamilton and Rosberg run their own races, without being restricted by the wider team's wish.”

The Scot adds that drivers would need to own up to their potential mistakes for the undertaking to be successful at Yas Marina Circuit.

“If it were going to work, the drivers would have to accept responsibility for what happens - whether it be losing the race to their team-mate or even letting Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in.

“Hamilton and Rosberg would have to accept that they would have the team to answer to if they embarrassed them. And they would have to be prepared to stand up afterwards and say: "We lost because of my choices, I accept that, it was a one-off just for the fans. The team would have won had we done it their way." And so on.

“As long as that was understood, I can't see a reason not to let it happen.”

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