Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2015

Title a “long shot” now – Rosberg

2015 United States Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg admits his championship chances have almost gone following his retirement in the Russian Grand Prix.

“With four races left and a big gap to Lewis [Hamilton], it’s clear that the title is a long shot for me now,” said Rosberg ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.

“But it’s not in me to give up or back down, so I’ll be pushing flat out to the end and hopefully having some fun out there in the final few rounds this year.”

Rosberg fell to this place in the championship in Russia and is 73 points behind Hamilton with 100 available.

However he has taken pole position for the last two races in a row and Rosberg says he aims to “end the year with a few more wins”.

“Austin is definitely somewhere that you can have fun,” Rosberg added. “It’s a great track to drive, I got pole there last year, and I’m coming off the back of a really strong weekend in Russia in terms of my performance, so if I can repeat all of that then I’ll be in a good position.”

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    71 comments on “Title a “long shot” now – Rosberg”

    1. Never been his biggest fan but I really felt like he had the upper hand on Lewis in Sochi. It’ll be interesting whether he can finish ahead of Vettel in the standings, shouldn’t be a problem though. For all we know fate has two DNFs for Hamilton in store and Vettel gets uncomfortably close for Mercedes.

    2. Was a long shot right from the start of the season, wasn’t it? Unfortunately for Nico, he is alongside one of the best drivers but Nico is a strong guy and here’s hoping for a much stronger 2016 season for him.

      1. @neelv27 Did you copy-paste that from last year and just changed 2015 to 2016. :)

      2. @xtwl May as well. Probably worth stashing for the end of next season too.

      3. Wow everyone’s being so polite. NR – Not a real German, not a real title-contender.

        1. LH isnot a real german either… Yet obviously a title contender.

          Nico should get his act toggether. He is not far from Hamilton, last race he was better. Over season Hamilton was better mostly… But margin in championship is not as big as points suggest. He should repeat 4x Sochi, so he can start 2016 on a winning note.

          Only thing that should matter to him is improving to the point of competing with Ham and beyond. He is not that far.

          Offcorse people think its impossible to beat Ham,… If anyone is in best seat to do it… Its Nico Rosberg.

      4. If anyone saw the look that Niki Lauda gave Toto Wolf after Nico Rosberg posted a lap over .2 faster than Hamilton at Singapore ‘team orders’ took over. The news read that Nico’s GP was over before it began. Then “It’s not prone to failure like a transmission or engine full of moving parts.” Mercedes does make mistakes like this.

        I have watched F1 since the 1964 F1 race at Watkins Glen which continued till 1980; Jimmy Clark, Graham Hill, Dan Gurney. Indeed, I have followed Indy Cars though thick and thin, the prototypes with Jim Hall and Hap Sharp, AJ Foyt, the pony cars in the pits with a news pass with Mark Donohue, Peter Revson,

        Penske has won 14 Indy 500s. [consider his team on par with domination of Mercedes in F1 of recent vintage] The ONLY case I could find of failed gearbox was in 1979. “Mears started the ’79 race from the pole. When teammate Bobby Unser slowed because of gearbox problems with 19 laps remaining, Mears seized the lead for good.”

        my conclusion is that Mercedes could not have anyone ran on Hamilton’s parade. Nico crossed the line and threatened Hamilton with enough races left — a DNF took him totally out of the picture — ‘team orders.’

    3. The title was always going to be difficult to win after 2014, even more so once he started to fall ever more behind in the championship. He seems to be a very quick driver who is not quite as quick as his team mate, the same position that many quick drivers find themselves in. He’s unlikely to win a WDC whilst Hamilton remains his team mate, and even less likely to win a WDC if he decided to eliminate that problem by moving teams.

      Still, Hamilton has proved in the past that he’s not immune to a poor season, so I’m sure Rosberg will be back for another go in 2016.

      1. @gregkingston Your comment made me wonder whether there have ever been teammates for two or more consecutive seasons where each became world champion? Can only think Prost is the only one who did not once but twice in ’85 winning from Lauda who won in ’84 (with half a point from Prost!), and in ’89 winning from Senna who won in ’88 (arguably thanks to the dropping-results-gimmick).

        @andae23 or @keithcollantine Is there another duo?

        1. Hill and Villeneuve – both driving with Williams in ’96-’97.

          1. Damon Hill drove for Arrows in 1997.

          2. Hill wasn’t part of the Williams team in 1997. He was replaced by Heinz-Harald Frentzen and signed for Arrows-Yamaha.

          3. @pjtierney and @dh1996 Yeah, was a bit too enthousiastic I thought I had found another one. When I picture Hill it’s always in a Williams.

        2. @xtwl Well, it nearly happened in 2008, didn’t it?!

          1. Also nearly happened in 2001, but although Coulthard finished 2nd, Schumachers point advantage was more than devastating, nevertheless, he was able finish ahead of Hakkinen.
            I checked this back to 1980, and only Prost twice (became WDC as well), Coulthard in 2001 and Massa in 2008 was able to beat his already champion teammate whhile they were at the same team. Not just becomeing WDC, but only beating the teammate. That’s kind of shocking…

        3. @xtwl Farina and Fangio – Alfa Romeo – 1950 and 1951.
          Brabham and Hulme – Brabham – 1966 and 1967.
          Prost/Lauda and Senna/Prost as mentioned.

      2. After the first four races everyone knew Nico had a tough season ahead because Lewis blew him away and to add the pressure to the matter Vettel winning in Seipang and Kimi beating him to second place in Bahrain. He started blaming Lewis for backing him into the claws of the Ferrari’s. Last year the first DNF Lewis had kept Nico keen until when Lewis completely wiped out the deficit the moment Lewis nudged ahead, it became when will Lewis win because no matter where Lewis starts from he wins the race

        1. I still think Nico can bet Hamilton, but Nico is too nice of a guy. It seems several times Ham has run Nico off the road and Nico has backed off to save the team 2 DNFs, but when Nico tried it, Ham did not bake off and Nico got blamed (by Ham) for causing a collision or something. Ham may be fast, but I wouldn’t want to be his team mate; seems like he is somewhat of a bully. JMO

          1. Rosberg barges people off the road more often than Hamilton does. Especially Bottas seems to suffer from this. The rules were actually made more strict because of the way Rosberg was running people off track even on the straights.

            In Hungary Rosberg squeezed Hamilton into Vettel after the start which led to Hamilton having to break out and losing a load of places at the first turn.

            Rosberg would at least need to be able to keep up with Hamilton to be able to overtake him. Since that’s already not happening i don’t see what your point is. Rosberg can’t just be less nice when he’s not even on for an overtake.

    4. I’m not surprised – last year I believed the title was Hamilton’s and this year was a total walkover.

      Rosberg’s a good driver and probably among the better ones on the grid but I’m not sure he ever was WDC material. He has days where he’s perfect but more often than not he’s totally anonymous and his wheel-to-wheel racing is terrible. Seems to get easily pressured into mistakes. Good qualifier if everything’s perfect but average speed during the race and certainly not the best at overtaking.

      Either his years of thrashing Michael Schumacher went to his head or last year where he lost his points advantage and the title to Hamilton damaged his confidence more than he lets on – like Webber vs Vettel in 2010 – never the same driver after coming so close and losing. Shame, because he’s certainly good and has bags of potential – he has the ability and skill but it feels almost like he doesn’t believe that he has. Then again there’s only so many times you can say ‘I’ll come back stronger next year’.

      Until he gets his mojo back he’s a solid number two driver.

      1. If another top 6 driver was along Hamilton, someone like Kimi, Button or Ricciardo you would probably say they are not WDC material too, right? Which is obviously not the case. These drivers are perfectly capable to win a WDC in a competitive car, is just that when against great drivers they look average (see Kimi Vs Vettel). I believe Rosberg is WDC material, he just has the wrong teammate.

        1. Kimi, Button and Ricciardo are all better drivers than Rosberg.

        2. @rethla
          Raikkonen in 2015? Nope. Rosberg is also closer to Hamilton on pure pace than Button was. Only about Ricciardo do you have a point.

          1. @kingshark Yes, but performing in F1 isn’t just about pure pace is it? Ask Prost!

            Ricciardo is the dark horse, because we’re basing our opinions on one impressive season where his teammate did a Hamilton circa 2011 and he nabbed some opportune victories. Would we be saying the same if this year was his first in Red Bull?

            1. @Optimaximal
              Prost was faster than every driver he ever raced against apart from Senna, including Mansell (as seen in 1990). Button is not even close to Prost. I don’t think Button is any better or more consistent than Rosberg either. I am however more sure that Rosberg is faster than Button.

            2. @kingshark I’d also say Senna was faster than Prost yet Prost had the better of him over their two seasons in points. That alone proves pure pace is not everything in F1

              As far as above drivers go; Kimi > Rosberg > Button > Ricciado. But that is because I remember Kimi in his early career and I also think Ricciado got a whole lot of praise for 2014 which he only partially deserved.

            3. Apart from crushing the best driver last year Ricciardo has done some impressive stuff this season aswell.

            4. Really? You didn’t see Ricciardo doing NOTHING worth of note this year?

              The guy did impressive races at least half dozen of times this season. Wasn’t the car so unreliable, he could easily be close to the Williams on the standings. He did lose a lot of points. Kvyat on the other hand, just some minor stuff.

          2. @kingshark Kimi is in an entirely different stage in his career. There is 5 years between their first F1 entries…

        3. WebImagensVídeosMapasNotíciasTradutorExplorar

          Desmarcar Tudo
          To me he is an unlucky Mika Hakkinen.

          Both, after winning just once and impressing, suddenly woke up with the class of the field machine to be WDC at the end of the year.

          The difference is the british guy on the other side of the garage. Lucky Mika.

    5. I guess his best bet was in Abu double 2014, realistically he can’t win it if Lewis is there, problem is that Ferrari is also there so he will have not only to beat his own teamate but also Vettel and maybe MC/Honda next year.

      1. i love how optimistic people still are about mclaren. their last decent car was 2012 – it’s been a steady decline until this year when honda caused a near vertical decline. i’m hopeful they’ll improve but i doubt they’ll be regular podium contenders.

        1. @frood19 I am optimistic because this year’s chassis seems better than last year’s of the recent direction the team took, it is less draggy and more balanced, so if Honda can boost it’s engine they will perform at least like Williams, don’t forget that the development freezing is no more there so Honda will be able to unleashe it’s creativity again.

        2. @frood19 I also always smile when I read a comment about McLaren being competetive anywhere ahead of 20-never.

      2. “Abu double” haha :)

    6. As long as Lewis is in this game he will never be champ. There are three top of the food chain drivers in F1 and Rosberg isn’t one of them.

      1. whos the 3rd ? (lewis, seb..)

        1. Fernando Alonso. Remember him?!

        2. The one that has properly beaten Seb.

          1. Yeah I’d go with Ricciardo before Vettel too. Although this season qualifying seems more important again and that’s Vettel’s strength. Vettel had a lot of qualy issues in 2014, but even when he qualified in front of Ricciardo he would usually be beaten in the race, but overtaking wouldn’t be so simple this season anymore.

            Or maybe Verstappen already?

            1. @patrickl You would actually choose Ricciardo, a driver who has had enormous amount of luck and basically proved half of some others in one good season above a four times champion who a knowledgeable F1 fan rates among the best the sport has ever seen… The bad luck Vettel had together with his little dip in performance flatters Ricciardo massively, or are you also convinced Kvyat is a better driver than Vettel?

            2. What sane man would mention Kvyat in a discussion about the top 3 drivers?

            3. @rethla What sane man implies Vettel isn’t one of the top three?

            4. @david-a If you are referring to me i think you missunderstood. I replied to Pats question who the third driver is. Lewis, Seb.. and the one who properly beat Seb.

              Seb is top 3 no doubt.

            5. How short a memory span sports fans have… @patrickl

            6. @xtwl, Lol, yeah try to write it off as “luck”. Indeed Vettel had a few more qualifying niggles and that meant the quali results don’t properly reflect Vettel’s only weapon, ie qualifying. Yet even when vettel started ahead of Ricciardo, Ricciardo usually finished in front of him anyway.

              Why *should* Vettel be in the top 3? We have never seen him next to a competent driver. Well besides Ricciardo and he ran circles around Vettel. Humiliated Vettel even with that dummy he threw in Monza.

              Webber was another 1 lap wonder and he was less of a wonder at that than Vettel. Both aren’t much in the way of racers so they would usually finish in quali order.

            7. Your comment is just ridiculous and does not deserve an answer. So let’s just conclude it on ‘@patrickl hates Vettel for no reason’, note to self – don’t reply on his posts.

            8. Yeah please do. No need for overly sensitve Vettel fans start to cry on me when I point out the facts.

            9. @patrickl
              I do not believe you can just write off people who disagree with you as “crying” and “sensitive”. To answer your question, Vettel is considered a top three driver in the opinion of the team bosses this year (2nd behind Hamilton), was voted by them 1st or 2nd 5 years straight, and in terms of never being up against a competent driver, he’s beating Raikkonen by a similar extent to Alonso last year, despite Kimi apparently being more comfortable with this year’s car, according to James Allison.

    7. He should be able to beat Lewis easily. He’s experienced, highly knowledgeable and quick but he can only do qualy or a race well, he can’t normally do both. That’s why Lewis will win the title this year, cause he’s the perfect gift from god to F1 cause he can master anything all at once

    8. I felt sorry for Rosberg. He was with Mercedes through their lean years, beat Schumacher fair and square (and while MS probably wasn’t at his best, I think he still was very good) and just when he was about to reap rewards, Lauda brings in a PR poster boy that also happens to be one of the decade’s best. I actually think that the difference is rather small, but at this level that little bit amounts to a lot and separates champions from the very good. I find it very likely that there are very few drivers in F1 now who would convincingly deny him the title the way Hamilton does if they were Rosberg’s teammates.

      But I agree that it is not the time to give up yet for Rosberg. His best chance is if Hamilton suddenly decides that rapping is more fun than driving around in circles. If you do not see him at COTA, remember that you read it here first :-).

    9. Rosberg has perhaps had less luck than Hamilton this year (I’m tempted to work out the numbers at some point) but he’s simply been outclassed by Hamilton this year, especially in qualifying. And with it being so difficult to follow another car this year it has not helped his racing, which it could be argued – has improved since 2014.

      1. @craig-o Rosberg has had two DNFs to Hamilton’s one, but Hamilton’s DNF happened when Merc were under-performing so Roseberg was unable to capitalise. So yes I think you are correct that Rosberg has had slightly worse luck than Hamilton this year.

        1. mechanically speaking you are correct, but I would consider Monaco a major team failure as well.

    10. Nico’s not normally as fast as Lewis and he seems to have problems closing in and overtaking him. That said, I think he’s actually the mentally stronger driver.

      Last year, Nico unsettled Lewis throughout the year and made Lewis question his abilities. That’s Lewis’ key weakness – his sporting mind and insecurities over his skill. This season, Lewis got on the winning wave very early and rode it ever since. Nico’s not been able to unsettle him. It seems quite unlikely that Nico will ever be able to unsettle Lewis quite as much as in 2014 again.

      1. @joshgeake I am not sure if I saw the same 2014 season as you? In general i agree with you that Lewis head seems to be all over the place but last year was the strongest i have ever seen him mentally. In spite of starting off with a DNF on season opener and multiple Qualifying problems in Hungary, Germany and weaker qualifying in general he never game up hope and came back stronger and stronger. If anything Lewis unsettled Nico after Spa incident.

      2. this is nonsense.lewis started 25 points behind,then won 4 races in a row.he had dodgy reliabilty in quali and races,and still was able to bounce on the other hand never managed to win back to back races when lewis went through that bad patch of unreliability,and it was actually nico who made mistakes in races when under pressure.lewis showed great mental strength last season,and he’s been even better this season,not only dominating quali ,but also most of the races.

      3. So you think preventing Hamilton from completing a qualifying lap in Monaco, and taking him out of the race at Spa, required more mental strength from Rosberg than Hamilton coming back repeatedly from DNFs caused by mechanical issues or his team mate? The mentally ‘weak point’ for Hamilton was probably between Monaco and Spa, and directly attributable to the Monaco incident. However, Rosberg was also forced into errors by Hamilton in various races (and Monaco qualifying arguably) causing him to fluff corners and lose the lead at Canada and Monza, for example, while later in the season Hamilton simply drove past him in the US and Japan.

        Technically and mentally I think Rosberg and Hamilton are even. Where Hamilton beats him is down to an edge of reckless bravery when needed (like his pass of Rosberg in the rain in Japan last year), better high speed braking, and better track/racing awareness.

      4. You should be ashamed of yourself for such a biased view of 2014. Come on now, admit you are wrong.

      5. @joshgeake Sorry but if you mean by unsettling someone to play dirty games as in Monaco I can’t call it unsettling.
        You have to play fair and try to unsettle someone that way, otherwise I call it cheating and with that attitude you can’t go far, Rosberg’s results speaks for it.

    11. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      19th October 2015, 14:09

      Lewis singing:
      Watch me whip, watch me nay nay! :-)

      First, I’ve been vocal against Rosberg’s trackside behavior in the past but the truth is if he doesn’t become world champ, he stands a good chance to go down as a Pedrosa-grade (don’t delete the post:-) ) F1 driver especially if Merc’s dominance continues. I think his wheel-to-wheel racing has actually been improving over the past few years – the issue I had with him in the past was that he didn’t pass/fight which is actually how he managed to beat Schumacher who paid the price for many unsuccessful passes. Yes, I’ve talked about it before at length on how Schumacher beat Nico once adjusting Nico’s scores for excessively “safe driving”. That being said, he’s probably the best “safe” racer in F1 but that bears the stigma of calling him the best non-racing driver. He’s improving though as he’s realized that he has to fight to beat Lewis. Like they say, you don’t want to be learning how to play football while you’re playing the Champions League Final but what choice does he have? At least he’s realizing his shortcomings and addressing them which is exactly what he needs to do.

      1. They are finally balanced though. A repeat of the 2014 mechanical issues for Hamilton in 2016, particularly at his best circuits, could see Rosberg in the lead and Hamilton failing to recover sufficiently. It’d be close but Rosberg is capable – with the right dose of luck and avoiding his 2014 ‘shenanigans’ – of winning the championship on a straight fight between the two. But I expect Ferrari to be closer still next year, so maybe his chance has gone.

    12. I arrived in Germany today, bought all the local motorsport magazines at an airport shop and the front page of Motorsport Aktuell says “That’s it, Nico”. I do not think anyone really believes he can win the championship as long as Hamilton participates in the rest four races. Last year Hamilton’s reliability record made the title battle more exciting than it should have been, this year Rosberg’s rate of reliability has made Hamilton’s title defence easier than it should have been but you cannot say that the (anticipated) outcome has felt unfair in either case.

      I do not think there is any specific reason for this and F1 pundits, who say that Rosberg is not relentless or feisty enough, probably overanalyse things. As Heikki Kovalainen once said, sometimes you give 100 per cent but it is still not enough. I think that is the case with Rosberg – he is stronger, more relentless and more more motivated than ever but it is still not enough to beat Hamilton.

    13. Unlike most people, I still think that he has the ability to win a WDC. The cards will need to fall somewhat in his favor (let it be Lewis having a bad year or more mechanical retirements); and Mercedes needs to be a tad better than the rest (a Red Bull 2010-advantage would be enough). But he is still better than every driver on the grid apart from Hamilton/Alonso/Vettel/Ricciardo.

      1. let it be Lewis having a bad year or more mechanical retirements

        @kingshark We all saw that movie:2014

        1. @realstig
          I must have missed the part where Hamilton had more bad luck than Rosberg, because overall it didn’t happen in 2014.

    14. I have always rated Nico, i believe he is a really good driver and in any other team would probably beat the other guy. But against one of the greats in Hamilton and Alonso for that matter, its going to be an uphill battle. Im sure he will come back strong next year if the Merc is up there. who am i kidding, of course the Merc will be up there.

    15. Rosberg is perhaps the best N° 2 driver of this modern era IMHO.

    16. Lol if Riciardo is top tierdriver, who is low tier?

      These are all top 3 drivers… Right now forme there is only undispiuted top2 Hamilton and Vettel… Everyone else is second tier, past their prime, before their prime. Lacking mojo… Or poor team choice. Rosberg does not have Mojo. Vettel has right now the spirit of growth around him. Nothing will go wrong for him, the moment there is a sniff of victory he grabs it. Ham just enjoys life in the fast lane… But in equal machinery I fear he would be beaten by many… Except not by Rosberg who is hurtin on Mental Mojo side.

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