The Mercedes Formula 1 team says it was surprised by an expectation it would employ team orders to manage the title rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg this season.
F1 2014's dominant team has allowed its drivers to race freely since the start of the season, which has created some tensions within the squad.
Rosberg and Hamilton rowed internally over misuse of engine settings in Bahrain and Spain, before publicly refusing to speak during the Monaco Grand Prix when Rosberg guaranteed himself pole position at Hamilton's expense after going off in the closing stages of qualifying.
Regardless of the flashpoints, Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe reckons his team made the right decision to allow its drivers to race freely.
"People at the beginning of this season were surprised we weren't running any team orders, and there was a bit of criticism against us as if we were idiots for not imposing them," Lowe told AUTOSPORT.
"By Bahrain, it was like 'you're going to have to stop it now, look what they got up to.'
"People even thinking like that is almost an inversion of how you should be, probably generated by that [Michael Schumacher] Ferrari era [in the 2000s, where Schumacher had undisputed number-one status in the team].
"Before that era no one would have ever thought about it.
"Of course you're going to race, that's what you do in Formula 1. It's a natural thing to do."
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